Stressing the importance of credibility in journalism, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said that the media has to avoid sensationalism.
“Information with confirmation is more than ammunition. Any content that offends the sensibilities of the people is a matter of concern and self-regulation is the best way to address such a problem,” he said in his address at the 14th Shailikaar Prabhakar Samman ceremony, an official statement said.
The award that was instituted in memory of well-known Hindi writer, journalist and freedom fighter Kanhaiya Lal Misra Prabhakar has been bestowed upon Anuradha Prasad this year.
Recalling the pioneering role of journalism in freeing India from colonial rule and subsequently in strengthening democracy in Independent India, Naidu said that a vibrant electronic and print media were continuing to play an important role in moulding public opinion.
He also noted that news values appear to have changed over the years with “what would not have been considered to be even a filler in the past is becoming ‘Breaking News’ today and many a time, an off-the-cuff remark becomes a screaming headline”. he said.
Naidu however asserted that he was not advocating any censorship.
The media because of its reach and impact has a huge responsibility in ensuring that the people are not swayed or agitated by controversies which are best ignored, he said.
He further said that the cinema too must avoid obscenity, vulgarity, violence and double meaning dialogues. Of late there was a tendency of mixing news and views, he added.
Referring to freedom of expression, the Vice President said that it is best utilized when the value of such freedom is fully appreciated.
He called upon newspapers and channels to refocus on developmental journalism so that different social and economic issues affecting the people and the country get highlighted and even bring about policy changes at the highest level.
He also said that we need to accord importance to mother tongue, while pursuing English as the link language.