Speaking at the 22nd conference of the FMRAI on ‘Media and Politics,’ Mr. Ram said the tremendous growth of the media industry in the country had also increased its capacity for harm as seen in the case of the attacks on Reliance stores in Andhra Pradesh following certain news broadcasts

The media in India should commit itself to clean ethical principles and recognise its social responsibility even while it asserts its freedom, said N. Ram, editor-in-chief, The Hindu, on Tuesday.

Speaking at the 22nd conference of the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives’ Association of India (FMRAI) on ‘Media and Politics,’ Mr. Ram said the tremendous growth of the media industry in the country had also increased its capacity for harm as seen in the case of the attacks on Reliance stores in Andhra Pradesh following certain news broadcasts.

He said that the issues identified by Vice-President Hamid Ansari at a media workshop — “hyper-commercialism” in the industry, which had resulted in the concept of “paid news;” and the lack of training to journalists -- should be addressed both internally by media organisations and by civil society by exerting pressure on the media.

On the political situation, Mr. Ram said that following the 2009 Lok Sabha election results, analysts had been predicting stability with a return to a government with a single dominating party leading a coalition. But, the Telangana issue had shown that the strong mandate could be squandered in a matter of months. With no evidence of a big change in the electoral mood, this showed that the trends had been grossly “over-interpreted,” he said.

There were several political issues that needed to be sorted out – ideological hardness, separatist tendencies, politically organised militant communalism, intensified economic exploitation and the denial of social justice, troubled Centre-State relations and a compromising of independent foreign and strategic policy – Mr. Ram said.

In this context, political stability as defined in terms of a single dominating party controlling government through a coalition was not desirable unless it rested on clean foundation, prioritising the needs of hundreds of millions of deprived people, Mr. Ram said.

Website launched

At the conference, Mr. Ram launched FMRAI’s website – www.fmrai.org – and asked the organisation to use the internet to communicate effectively with its members and the general public.