The present-day journalists should return to the core values of accuracy, fairness, objectivity, news worthiness and independence, which have been eroded over the years, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said here on Thursday.
“Over the years, it appears that the core values which guided journalism in the past are not being observed and news is being increasingly coloured with views which are consistent with the line taken by the management of the news organisation,” Naidu said while addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of the Press Council of India (PCI) on the occasion of National Press Day.
“Is this a healthy trend for a democracy? I don’t think so and all of you, who have gathered here today on National Press Day must do a serious introspection,” he added.
The Vice President emphasised that commercial interests alone should not become the motive for running a newspaper or news channel and that “some balance needs to be struck” between societal obligations and business endeavors.
“I feel the present-day journalists should return to the core values of accuracy, fairness, objectivity, news worthiness and independence. The haste to beat your rivals or competitors should not lead to inaccurate reportage,” he said.
He said that with changing contours of journalism, there is a need to bring all media organisations under a single “watchdog body with a new nomenclature” and also prescribing a minimum educational qualification for aspiring journalists.
“This is absolutely necessary to ensure that the standards and ethics of journalism are maintained and not compromised,” Naidu said as he recalled the crucial role played by the press, especially vernacular papers, in inspiring people during the freedom struggle.
He said that “undaunted by the ironclad restrictions imposed by the British”, the press remained fearless and the same indomitable spirit continued ever since, “barring a temporary aberration during the infamous Emergency” when he said the press “behaved like the handmaiden of the government”.