Vinay Kumar

Unveils eight-point "media mission" for implementation

  • Government for self-regulating mechanism: Dasmunsi
  • Regulatory mechanism accepted in countries: Ray

    NEW DELHI: Exhorting the national press to transform into the media of people and play partner in economic development, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on Thursday gave an eight-point mission for immediate implementation.

    The President unveiled his "media mission" in his address on the National Press Day while inaugurating a two-day seminar on "Journalism Ethics and Society in the age of Globalisation," organised by the Press Council of India here.

    It included launching a media movement: "Developed India before 2020"; media becoming a development partner in the programme of Providing Urban amenities in Rural Area; celebrating every aspect of the success of the people; evolution of a corruption-free India before 2015; promoting an enlightened society which means education with a value system; scanning and digitising all old issues of the print media to preserve our national heritage; and a code of conduct by the media themselves for ensuring that all reporting is analysed, evaluated and researched prior to publication.

    While touching on the necessity of having the code, the President, in an obvious reference to The Hindu , said the national newspaper had evolved a healthy practice for maintaining high standards of reporting. "They have appointed a consultant exclusively for maintaining the standard of the newspaper reporting and nurture the name of the paper, thereby ensuring that all the guidelines are adhered to by the reporters. There is a constant review of the quality of reporting and improvement in the guidelines. This may be followed by the media organisations all over the country to continuously improve the quality and maintain the consistency of news reporting."

    Emphasising the need for development politics, the President said "political politics" got more importance. "The nation's important need is development politics. Your reporting in this area is essential. I see the media as a partner in national development."

    The media could be a partner in national missions such as Developed India by 2020, the recently sanctioned Rs.1, 74, 000-crore "Bharat Nirman", the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme covering 200 districts and "Right to Education Act" for providing compulsory and free education to all children between 5 and 13 years.

    It was essential to have research wings in academic institutions developing media persons in reporting news, event analysis and highlights. "The owners of newspapers should encourage research being carried out by experienced and young reporters for acquiring postgraduate qualifications which will improve the quality of content of the print media."

    Earlier, Information and Broadcasting and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi said the Government was committed to non-interference in press freedom but favoured a "self-regulating mechanism." The Government was contemplating bringing the electronic media under some kind of regulation about which there were two views: either expanding the scope of the Press Council of India to include the electronic media or having a separate regulator. Then, there was also the question of regulating the net, he said. Giving the assurance that the proposed Broadcasting Bill was "not even remote interference" in the print or electronic media, Mr. Dasmunsi lauded the role of the media in pointing out "where we are going wrong" and said the Government did not want any confrontation with the fourth estate. Press Council Chairman Justice G.N. Ray, a former Supreme Court judge, said while the need for constant introspection of the functioning of the media by journalists themselves could not be underestimated, the importance of an independent regulatory mechanism was an accepted perception in all countries. "How effectively the regulation of the media can be achieved by maintaining freedom of expression deserves serious consideration. Such a mechanism cannot be a straightjacket formula but has to be evolved judiciously in the context of the socio-economic and political set-up and felt-need of a country."