The government is in the process of formulating a national policy on communication which has been recognised as a critical component in governance by the Narendra Modi regime, Information and Broadcasting Minister Venkaiah Naidu said here today.
“By and large, Indian media has been progressive and has been constructive. Media is the link between government and the people…So, you have greater responsibility. The I&B Ministry is in the process of formulating a national policy on communication,” he said.
Inaugurating the Regional Editors’ Conference organised by the Press Information Bureau, Naidu said “sensationalism” had become the order of the day due to competition and TRPs, and pitched for self-regulation.
Naidu said he had taken over the Information and Broadcasting department recently and told the officials to formulate the communication policy.
“The government under the leadership of Modi has placed communication as a critical component in governance of the nation. There is a need for the government communicators to adopt innovative ways to reach out to each and every individual in the country about government policies and programmes,” he said.
Noting that media landscape in the country had undergone a “tectonic shift” following the emergence of 24×7 instant communication process, he said “Earlier there was one TV channel our own Doordarshan. But today, we have competition. I do not know whether it is healthy or unhealthy competition,” he said referring to growing number of channels.
There has been a revolutionary change in information technology as well as in instant information and communication, he said.
On handling of sensitive issues, he said, “The challenges before media are to ensure quality, credibility along with the responsibility to play a role of an educator.
“Whenever there is any crisis, media has to behave in a sober manner by self-regulating. At times, I feel sad due to competition and in the race for TRPs, sensationalism has become the order of the day,” the minister said.
Besides, he said the challenge was to maintain high “ethical standards” on the issue of conflict of interest where media needed to be very careful.
“In the context of various sensitivities prevalent in a multicultural society like India, it is imperative to strike a fine balance between freedom of speech and expression and the reasonable restrictions so as to maintain public order and integrity,” he said.
Earlier, referring to the presence of state Information and Publicity Minister ‘Kadambur’ Raju at the event, he thanked Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for sending him.
“I thank Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for having sent her Minister Kadambur Raju to be here among us. Because we are a federal country, the central, state governments and local bodies have to work together,” he said.
“Our Prime Minister believes in cooperative federalism and he wants the entire country to work as a team India. As without the progress of a state, a country cannot progress. Without cooperation of the Centre a state cannot progress. So we have to work together,” he said.