Money power and other vested interests have established a kind of stranglehold over the Indian media that is not healthy either for the profession or for our democracy, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Shri L K Advani has said.
?In my view, journalists should become aware of both internal and external threats to their profession. For example, today the threat to press freedom does not come so much from the Government as it did during the Emergency?today the forces that make journalists bend and crawl are quite unlike those that operated during the Emergency?, Shri Advani said inaugurating the two-day Second National Convention of the Indian Media Centre (IMC) at the Punjab Agricultural University campus in Ludhiana recently.
Advocating self-regulation by media professionals, the BJP'sPrime Ministerial candidate said it was neither possible nor desirable for the Government to dictate reforms in the media. ?Primarily, this is something which those related to the media have to debate. Self-regulation is the best kind of regulation as far as media are concerned,? he said.
Describing the internet as the ?greatest enabler, enricher and defender of democracy in the history of mankind?, the former Deputy Prime Minister said its full potential should be harnessed to promote good politics and good governance in the country.
He promised that if elected to office in the next parliamentary elections, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance would be committed to support a country wide Broadband Revolution, making it affordable to the common people, especially students and youth.
?We shall also promote the internet in Indian languages in a big way?, he said.
Expressing concern over the trend towards sensationalism in the media, he said those in responsible positions in the media should resist the temptation of scoring over competitors?the so-called TRP war?by ignoring their own code of professionalism.
?If credibility is important for politicians, it is equally important for media organisations and media professionals?, Shri Advani said and commended the efforts of the Indian Media Centre to mobilise the voice of enlightened media professionals in India.
In his address, Punjab Chief Minister, Shri Parkash Singh Badal said regionalism, casteism, violence, poverty, illiteracy and employment were emerging as major challenges before the country and exhorted media persons to discharge their duties effectively and efficiently to meet these challenges.
Editor-in-Chief of The Pioneer and Chairman of the IMC Shri Chandan Mitra expressed concern over the ?trivialisation of news? and asked the media to introspect.
Shri Advani and Shri Badal were presented with memento and citations at the function which was also attended among others by Punjab Minister Capt. Kanwaljit Singh, Shri Manoranjan Kalia, Shri Madanmohan Mittal, Rajya Sabha Member Shri Balbir Punj, IMC Director Shri Shyam Khosla, IMC Organising Secretary Shri Ashok Singhi and 450 invitees.
A total of 145 delegates and observers from ten states participated in the two-day convention which passed a resolution, moved by IMC National Secretary Prof Shivaji Sarkar, demanding immediate setting up of an independent regulator by constituting Media Council of India by an act of Parliament to cover print, electronic, TV, radio, internet and all emerging media. While enacting the law, the proposed council should be given teeth on the pattern of OFCON of UK and FCO of US, it said.
Making a comprehensive presentation on ?Citizen Journalism? at a business session where Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker, CS Atwal was the Chief Guest, Prof BK Kuthiala, Director of the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Technology at the Kurukshetra University and IMC Vice-Chairman, said the increasing participation of ordinary citizens in the communication process through SMS, internet, blogs etc, was synonymous with democratisation of mass media.
Participating in the debate, Shri Ajay Upadhyay, former Editor of Hindustan expressed fears that citizen journalism could also result in a splurge of unverified and unsubstantiated information.
At the valedictory function, Dr Shakeel Ahmed, Minister of State for Home urged media to expose social evils and false propaganda by politicians.
Shri Muneesh Tewari, Secretary, AICC, commended the IMC's?missionary spirit? to act as an instrument of change in media.
In his concluding address, Shri Khosla reiterated IMC'scommitment to professionalism, ethics and protecting and defending independence and freedom of media.