Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today said introspection and self-correction on the part of journalists is vital in the current context to guard against undesirable tendencies like “paid news syndrome“.
Considering the critical role they were expected to play as the fourth pillar of democracy, it was important that journalists re-dedicate themselves to the values and social commitments upheld by pioneers in Indian media, he said.
He was inaugurating a seminar on “ethical journalism - perspectives and practice” organised by Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ).
It would be quite wrong to say that crisis of values was a problem afflicting journalism alone at a time when all spheres of life were controlled by market forces, he said.
Despite their limitations, journalists should always bear in mind the social responsibilities entrusted on them and that they were not expected to work like ‘robots’ under the diktat of market forces and media corporates, he said.
Majority of mainstream media in India supported the economic liberalism and globalisation without bothering about their adverse consequences on society as a whole.
Unstinted support given to this economic philosophy by mainstream media had emboldened the Centre to pursue policies of privatisation and economic liberalisation. Ironically, this had helped media capitalism to strengthen in the country creating insecurities among the media persons themselves, Mr. Achuthanandan observed.
Senior Congress leader G Karthikeyan said it was important that while criticising others including politicians, journalists do some soul-searching if they were following the ideals of the profession as set by their pioneering models.
The inaugural session was followed by a discussion on “paid news - a threat to media ethics”. State Finance Minister T M Thomas Isaac, P Sainath (Rural Affairs Editor, The Hindu), media critic and former MP Sebastian Paul and trade union leader and former MP Thampan Thomas spoke on the subject.