‘Credible media has key role in democracy’

  • | Tuesday | 16th November, 2021

Guwahati, Nov 16 (PTI) The importance of a credible media to hold those in power accountable to people, and the need for ensuring that causes of the masses are not pushed to the back by the growing influence of advertisers were stressed at the state-level National Press Day function in Assam on Tuesday. The need for soul searching and regulations for the media to maintain its credibility and trust among its readers and viewers was also highlighted at the event organised by the Directorate of Information and Public Relations of the state government here. The keynote speaker, Dr. Chandan Kumar Sharma, professor of Sociology at Tezpur University, said trust is the most important tool for the media and society cannot afford for the media to lose its credibility. He said the media’s role as a watchdog is always crucial to keep those in charge, whether they are elected representatives or people with power to impact and influence others, in check and hold them accountable if they fail to discharge their duties. While journalists were viewed as social workers in the past, technological and economic factors have contributed to a change in this view regarding the profession, he said. Liberalisation of the economy impacted all sectors in our country, including media, and private ownership and cross-ownership of media is leading to coverage of selective news or decreasing space for certain news, Sharma added. Sharma further said though media houses are heavily dependent on advertisements for revenue, it is not something new. “Dependence on advertisers is not new, but there is a need for balance,” he said, while also highlighting the need for media to maintain checks and balances to ensure its credibility. Speaking on the occasion, Information and Public Relations Minister Pijush Hazarika said media has played a crucial role in making India among the most vibrant democracies in the world. He said the constant vigil of the media has led to the evolution of a free and fair election process in the country, which has been among the most important factors in cementing the democratic foundations of the nation. Hazarika further said media must ensure its freedom, impartiality, and social responsibility while discharging its duties, and also present all aspects of development, without any biases. Twelve senior journalists of the state were also felicitated on the occasion by the state government. Meanwhile, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, in a statement on National Press Day, said the role of media in highlighting all positive and negative aspects of any development before the public helps in strengthening the democratic foundations of a nation. He further said media works as a bridge among the different organs of a government and promotes a stable democratic setup. PTI SSG MM MM

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