Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Self regulation by the media is the best option and any attempt to gag it will affect the democracy of the nation, Sebastian Paul, former MP and media critic, has said.

In his keynote address at a media seminar held in connection with the international book fair at Ernakulathappan ground here on Wednesday, Mr. Paul said that media should not be controlled in any way, as it remains the watchdog of a democratic nation. He said that attempts were on from various quarters to regulate the functioning of the media. But the society should come forward to resist such moves, Mr. Paul said.

Referring to the recommendations on regulating the media made by the Liberhan Commission, Mr. Paul said that such recommendations would only hamper the freedom of the media. He said that proposals for introducing a licensing system for the media were not practical and would only help regulating the freedom of the press.

Stating that the public should criticise the media for their work, he said that the media have the responsibility of bringing forward the problems faced by the people. Mr. Paul said that the media have played a key role in exposing human rights violations in the country.

Speaking on the occasion, K.M. Roy, senior journalist, said that the media in the country has performed the role of an opposition by criticising the rulers. Despite several shortcomings, the media continue to play a vital role in protecting democratic values across the country, he said.

Pointing out that crores of rupees were required for setting up a newspaper house these days, Mr. Roy said that no individual will come forward to spend such huge money in order to protect the democracy.

He said that the media have been successful in exposing the corruption at various levels for the last 40 years. P. Rajan, senior journalist, and M. V. Benny, critic, spoke on the occasion.