N. Santosh Hegde, former Lokayukta, said on Saturday that media, the fourth pillar of democracy, should remain strong, independent and impartial.

He was speaking at a prize distribution function of the inter-collegiate elocution competition and release of the 150th issue of the magazine, “Issues and Concerns”, held at MGM College here.

Mr. Hegde said that recent events such as “paid news” controversy and Nira Radia tapes controversy were shocking. The media should not get influenced by money power of big companies. However, the role played by the media in society, despite these controversies, was significant.

It was the responsibility of the media to present facts as they were instead of putting gloss over them. It was essential that the media should give more space to thoughtful articles. People were the supreme in the country. Hence, the Constitution of the country began with the words, “We, the people of India”. Government servants had an obligation to serve the people of the country to the best of their capacity. They were public servants. They should shun arrogance, he said.

If some people sought enactment of a law, it was incumbent upon those in power to listen to them. Such a demand could not be brushed aside by stating that the power of enacting a law belonged to the legislature. According to a survey, only 174 MPs spoke in the Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2009. Others had not asked anything. This was incorrect. A lot of money got wasted due to the non-functioning of Parliament. This could damage the fabric of the country, Mr. Hegde said.

P.V. Gowda, principal of MGM College, welcomed the gathering. M.V. Kamath, veteran journalist and former Chairman of Prasar Bharati, presided over the function.

J. Shriyan, editor of “Issues and Concerns”, Guatham Pai, managing director of Manipal Technologies Ltd., and journalist Ronald Fernandes were present.

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