Media must search for and find a balance between portrayal of negative and positive happenings in society. Its function as a social catalyst was so powerful that it imposed an obligation on it to profile issues of equity and empowerment of all, President Pratibha Patil said here on Tuesday.

Inaugurating the 62nd World Newspaper Congress and 16th World Editors’ Forum, she said, “There is a tendency in some sections to focus excessively on negative news. Of course, there is a lesson to be learnt from negative events, but equally important is to convey positive messages and inspire people.”

Globalisation had created a situation where events could no longer be viewed as isolated occurrences. Issues such as terrorism, climate change, rapid communication systems and financial integration were some of the indicators of the global village concept, she said.

Ms. Patil pointed to the complex network developed across the world by terrorists and urged journalists to have a stake in building a better and safer world.

Climate change too had ramifications for individuals and nations and media could play a crucial role in promoting behavioural patterns, consumption preferences and production models that were environment friendly.

Emphasising the important role of editors as opinion makers, the President said, “this role, apart from intellectual capabilities, demands objectivity, fairness and a deep sense of responsibility. A discussion on ethics in media and how quality journalism can be promoted in a manner that it serves public interest is an important self-assessment exercise, particularly as journalists influence the thinking, the standards and ethics of a society.”

Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Mohan Jatua stressed the need for media to maintain credibility and work as a guide towards welfare of society. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said society would continue to look to media to be its conscience-keeper.

Gavin O’ Reilly, president, WAN-IFRA, and T. Venkattram Reddy, president, Indian Newspaper Society, spoke.

Earlier, a minute’s silence was observed as a mark of respect for more than 30 journalists killed in the Philippines last week.

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