PM for self-regulation to fight paid news

PM Manmohan Singh said "perversions" like paid news had come as a shock but censorship was no answer and favoured self-regulation for the media.

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
on Thursday said "perversions" like paid news had come as a shock
but censorship was no answer and favoured self-regulation for
the media.

"It is true that sometimes irresponsible journalism can
have serious consequences for social harmony and public order,
which the public authorities have an obligation to maintain,
but censorship is no answer," he said at a function to launch
a book `The Tribune 130 years: A Witness to History`.

Singh said it was for the members of the Fourth Estate
themselves to collectively ensure that objectivity is promoted
and sensationalism is curbed.
"Those in the media should come together to exercise a
degree of self-regulation and to combat perversions like paid
news," he said.

Noting that there were examples of journalism of very
high caliber, Singh said, "But we also see sensationalism,
driven by a desire to sell a story at any cost."

"There are stories without clear understanding of issues.
There is reporting which is prejudiced. There is
trivialisation of important matters. There is corruption," he

"The prevalence of the practice of paid news exposed
recently has come as a shock to all right-thinking people," he

The media should reprimand the government when it goes
wrong, the Prime Minister said and suggested that that it
"should not be gloom and doom all the time."

"The world is looking up to us today and it would be but
fair that positive news is also given its due share," Singh
said at a function attended by Jammu and Kashmir Chief
Ministers Omar Abdullah and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder
Singh Hooda, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal
and a host of Union Cabinet Ministers.
The Prime Minister said the Indian development story was
an exciting one and should be told through the print and
visual media.

Observing that good journalism was a very serious
business and very difficult work, Singh said the
responsibilities that journalists carry are onerous -- to
inform the public, to keep a watch on the government`s work
and to highlight issues of critical importance.

"It is hard to be a good journalist -- ever willing to
learn, ever alert to new developments, objective, fair,
sensitive, balanced and constructive in approach," he said.

Singh said that collectively the country`s journalists
have acquitted themselves reasonably well.

"I am convinced that the Indian media is on the balance
responsible and attuned to serving national interest. I am
also sure that the coming years will see even higher standards
from our media," he said.


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