Journalists should stick to the truth, discourage those who seek to arouse emotions on caste, regional or communal lines, and not “eulogise” terrorists, Information and Broadcasting Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said today.
Addressing the 49th Convocation of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), he said nowadays there are attempts to eulogise those accused of terror activities.
“We have seen in recent days what is happening to terrorists, their sympathisers…dacoits. Some people are trying to eulogise Afzal Guru, Yakub Memon, Maqbool Bhat or Burhan Wani,” Naidu said.
“It may be music to the ears of our neighbour who is trying to aid, abet, fund and train terrorism. Pakistan is aiding, abetting, funding training terrorism… You are a journalist but you are a citizen of India and you have a duty towards the country,” he said.
Naidu told the students graduating from the premier media school that news and views should not be mixed and journalists should stick to the truth.
“My advise to the media is — be near to the truth and keep away from sensation. But unfortunately, sensation has become the order of the day. They want some headlines,” he said.
“Caste has no relevance to the society. But unfortunately people are using emotions…caste emotions, regional emotions, language emotions, communal emotions,” he said.
Naidu advised the students that “journalism should be a mission and not for commission” and said that unfortunately in present times we hear about evils like paid news or sponsored news.
He also referred to the recent violence over the Cauvery water sharing dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and asked why should buses be burnt over the issue?
Journalists should not fall in the trap of such tendencies, Naidu said, adding that all should feel proud of the country’s culture and traditions. On the coverage of proceedings of Parliament and state Assemblies, Naidu said that often the media focusses a lot on those who are obstructing the proceedings.
“In Parliament or Assembly, they always report about somebody going to the Well of the House or somebody unfolding his shirt and saying – come out. We are showing it as a heroic act. We should condemn that fellow and say that he has not spoken decently,” the minister said.
In an apparent dig at political opponents, Naidu said that “in a democracy, dynasty is nasty but is tasty to some people.
“If someone is a grandson, what is grand about it?” he asked. Naidu said that a common person like him had risen by sticking to one party but many don’t exhibit such commitment.
The I&B Minister also emphasised the importance of mother tongue and said the regional media was doing exceptionally well in both print and electronic segments.
“Information with confirmation is a great ammunition” in the war against social maladies like poverty, inequality, untouchability and even terrorism, Naidu said.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the greatest communicator in India’s recent political history.
Naidu said that the younger generation in India is not satisfied by speeches alone and wants quick solutions.
He also said that IIMC should start journalism courses in all Indian languages at the earliest and there should be more centres of the institute in all states. He said the Centre is considering granting University status to IIMC.
Earlier, IIMC DG K G Suresh said that the institute has started new departments — one of Short Term and Special courses and New Media and IT.
He said the IIMC is also planning a module on community radio. A community radio licence for Dhenkenal campus will also be sought soon, he added.