Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju on Friday described the feeling of insecurity among people from the northeast as well as their exodus from several places, including Bangalore, as a “disgrace to the entire country”.
Inaugurating a seminar on ‘Media and its responsibilities’, organised by the All-India Small and Medium Newspapers’ Federation in Bangalore, Mr. Katju said the main reason that increased fear among these people was the fact that they could be easily identified.
He sought to remind everybody that the Constitution had given the right to Indian citizens to live in any part of the country. Referring to the “son of the soil” movement being taken up in Maharashtra to give prominence to local people, he said most of such people who were supporting such movement themselves were actually migrants who were under the impression that they were the original inhabitants.
‘Country of migrants’
He said India itself was a country of migrants as 92 to 93 per cent of its people were from other regions of the world, especially northwest parts. This was the reason why Indian culture as well as looks of its people were so diverse. The only way to have a stable establishment in such a situation was by ensuring secularism and equal rights to all, he said.
Pointing out that the country was going through a transitional phase, where it was getting transformed from feudalism to modernity, he said this phase, to be expected to last for another 20 years, would be very turbulent. He appealed to the media to help the country quickly and safely go through this transitional phase by making serious efforts to build rationality, reasoning and modernity among people.
He reiterated that he had appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to bring the electronic media under the jurisdiction of the Press Council of India by rechristening it as Media Council of India.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj hailed the role played by small and medium newspapers in highlighting the local issues and problems that were of concern to people.
Congress MLA Dinesh Gundu Rao and federation’s national president Gurinder Singh also spoke.
Mr. Katju was critical of what he called the wrong priorities of the electronic media with a focus on sensationalism. He particularly took exception to they giving more importance to film stars and cricketers than to the serious problems being faced by the country such as farmers’ suicide, unemployment, poverty and hunger deaths.
He came down on astrological shows which had become daily fixtures on most of the TV channels. “It is pure nonsense as those astrologers suggest what should be the colour of the shirt that you have to wear as per your birth star to be lucky,” he said, and urged the media, particularly electronic media, to focus on building scientific temper as well as rational spirit among people rather than promoting blind belief.