Fact-based journalism important: N. Ram

Independent journalism should be kept up as it forms the bedrock of democracy, says Arun Shourie

September 28, 2022 07:28 pm | Updated 07:28 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

N. Ram, Director, The Hindu Group, on Wednesday stressed the importance of curated news and fact-based serious journalism amid the challenges posed by the growth of social media, disinformation, and the assaults and pressures on free speech.

Mr. Ram was speaking after inaugurating 'Sacred Facts: Media in a Post-Truth World,' a World News Day initiative organised by Mathrubhumi in association with Dailyhunt.

He stressed the importance of the ''scientific method'' in professional journalism in capturing and representing events and ideas and building trust with credibility, independence, transparency, and professional ethics.

Multiple challenges face professional news media today, he said. This included the need to adapt to the deepening digital transformation and impact of social media, trust issues, inflationary pressures, the assaults and pressures on free speech and erosion of media freedom. At the same time, the digital age offered opportunities given the massive leap in internet penetration in the past two decades, he said.

The two central functions of serious journalism — the 'credible-informational' and the 'critical-analytical-investigative' — should go hand-in-hand. While citizenship journalism had its value and place in the scheme of things, it cannot really compare with curated news, Mr. Ram said.

Noted journalist and former Union Minister Arun Shourie, delivering the keynote address, said the scope of independent and free journalism was becoming narrower and narrower. Warning that the ‘‘walls are closing in”, he urged journalists to focus on facts that had been verified by themselves, and to return to stories again and again. ‘‘We must master the arts by which we can get around censorship and the closing-in of the walls,’‘ he said.

“Independent journalism should be kept up as it forms the bedrock of democracy and the bedrock of our survival as a country,” Mr. Shourie added.

Mathrubhumi managing director M.V. Shreyams Kumar presided. Ruben Banerjee, former Editor, Outlook; senior journalist Seema Chisti, Arun Ram, Editor (Tamil Nadu), The Times of India; and Vaishna Roy, Editor, Frontline, spoke on 'Curated media and its challenges.' Varghese K. George, Resident Editor (New Delhi), The Hindu, moderated the session.

Senior journalists participated in two other sessions titled 'Narratives, lapses in reporting and self-criticism' and 'Is fact-based journalism a winning proposition.'

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