Bouquets and brickbats for the Fourth Estate

Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya, IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao, Media Advisor to government K.V. Ramana, and Press Academy chairman Allam Narayana at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Press Club Hyderabad, on Sunday.– Photo: Nagara Gopal  

Members of the Fourth Estate here on Sunday drew bouquets and brickbats from Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Press Club, Hyderabad (PCH), an organisation that has the crème de la crème among its 1,000-odd members.

At a grand celebration at the Ravindra Bharati, the First Citizen of the State blew hot and cold at journalists, saying that while their vital role in society was indeed laudable in many an instance, the slant towards sensationalism in recent years was a cause for worry. He quoted Napolean Boneparte and Mahatma Gandhi’s words to recall the ‘power of the pen’.

“What is breaking news? So you want to ‘break’ news 24/7? That’s not responsible journalism. I seriously think that photo-journalists and videographers of newspapers and television channels should be made abettors to the crime when they callously go on filming an atrocity or an accident where victims are bleeding to death, just for the sake of showing to their viewers,” he said, suggesting that journalists compare the coverage/footage of the 9/11 attacks in the United States of America vis-à-vis that of the 26/11 incident in Mumbai.

And the Fourth Estate should also be brought under the purview of the Right to Information Act, especially in matters concerning national security, Mr. Narasimhan opined. “What is this rat race? In the name of sensationalism, you are running away from your responsibility,” he said, going on to tell journalists to play a constructive role and come up with suggestions instead of simply adopting a ‘criticism for the sake of criticism’ approach.

On his part, Union Minister of State for Labour Bandaru Dattatreya urged the media to exercise restraint while disseminating news, cutting out sensationalism. He promised his support on all matters concerning welfare of journalists. Responding to a reminder from PCH president R. Ravikanth Reddy, the Minister for Information Minister K.T. Rama Rao said proposals for developing the club’s infrastructure were seriously being considered by the government. He assured that Telangana would be a model for providing the best for the media, and said the club would soon be the best in the country. However, while some media houses showed restraint and were objective in reporting news, he regretted that some created their own news.

Others present included Advisor to government K.V. Ramana, Commissioner-Information & Public Relations Naveen Mittal and Press Academy Chairman Allam Narayana. Past presidents and other office-bearers of PCH were honoured too.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 11:58:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/bouquets-and-brickbats-for-the-fourth-estate/article7931917.ece

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