New Delhi: Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Monday emphasised the need for freedom of media in the interest of the nation.
Addressing Kerala`s Union of Working Journalists, Chidambaram said that the media serves a larger public and democratic interest.
"We must ensure for the freedom of the media is unhindered, uninhibited. Free media is a sine qua non for democracy that is the best way to keep democracy in stores, we must be absolutely free. Between putting restrictions on the media in the name of some larger interest and not putting restrictions on the media, clearly not putting restrictions on the media, serves a larger democratic and public interest in the long run," said Chidambaram.
However, the finance minister also said that media should research and verify facts while keeping issues in mind.
"It is very important for the credibility of a magazine, or a paper or a channel that you must research and verify, but I am afraid that may not be possible in this highly competitive world, but I sincerely hope that these issues are kept in mind while you discuss the working conditions and the working ethos of journalism," he added.
Chidambaram said that the United States Watergate scandal, which resulted in resignation of country`s President Richard Nixon as a result of hardcore investigation by journalists, was a perfect example of proper research and verification of facts.
He also mentioned there were serious constraints in being a fearless journalist.
"There are serious constraints in being a fearless journalist. So, given the Indian context, what is it that we have to work for, we have to work to ensure that freedom of the media is not in any way interfered, and that means a journalist must be free to go anywhere he likes, he or she likes be able to report fearlessly, and not to face any threat or harassment either by government or government bodies or by so called affected citizens," said Chidambaram.
One hundred and thirty-four journalists and media support staff were killed while on reporting assignments last year, with India fourth on the list of countries with the most number of deaths, according to the London-based International News Safety Institute.
Most of those killed were targeted deliberately.