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CHENNAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called upon the media in the country to make an extra effort to maintain credibility.
He was speaking at the platinum jubilee celebrations of Tamil newspaper Daily Thanthi at the centenary hall of University of Madras.
“Today, every citizen analyse, discuss and attempt to cross check and verify the news that come to him through multiple sources. Media must therefore make an extra effort to maintain credibility. Healthy competition among credible media platforms is also good for health of our democracy,” Modi said.
Recalling the publications of Raja Ram Mohan Rai, Lok Manya Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi and the high ideals of the founding pioneers, the PM said that many papers published in that day continued to flourish today.
“After Independence, the rise of citizens gained importance in public discourse. Unfortunately, in our times, we seem to have neglected our individual collective sense of duty. This is in one way contributed to several ills that plague the society,” he said.
He said the role of vernacular newspapers remains important today, as it was at that time.
Content that is easily understood by people caters to the vulnerable and socially disadvantaged group and can never be underestimated, Modi said.
“On a serious note, we are all aware that there is too much happening in the world every day and every moment. It is the editors who select and decide what is important, and what should be given space on page one and less space or neglected. Editorial freedom must be used wisely in public interest. Equally, freedom to write and to decide what is to be written does not include the freedom to be less than accurate or factually incorrect,” Modi said.
Quoting Gandhi, the Prime Minister said, “Press is called the fourth estate. It is definitely a power but misuse that power is criminal. The Prime Minister said that he firmly believed that reforms in media whenever required could only come from within through introspection.”
He pointed at lot of media discourse today revolve around politics. “It is only fair that politics discourse at length in democracy. However, India is more than to discuss politics. It is 1.25 billion India that make India what it is today. I would be happy to see media focus on their success and their achievements. In their endevour, every citizen with mobile phone is an ally,” Modi said.
He lauded Daily Thanthi as a daily telegram that continues to come for over 75 years, even as the “traditional telegram delivered by postal department has become obsolete and went out of existence.”
Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam, Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Pon Radhakrishnan took part in the function.
Earlier, the Prime Minister expressed condolences and sympathies to those who lost their loved ones and faced hardships in the rain and floods in Chennai and other parts of the state. “I assure the state government all possible support,” he said.
Modi gave away literary award named after C P Athithanar to senior bureaucrat V Irai Anbu for his contribution to Tamil literature, literary award for senior to poet and Tamil scholar Erode Tamilanban and lifetime achievement award to businessman V G Santhosam.