New Delhi, Aug 29 : Former President Pranab Mukherjee has said the power of media could be used to engage in a nationwide endeavour to reset our moral compass.
Speaking at an event here on Wednesday evening to present the Kalinga FCC awards for excellence in journalism , Mr Mukherjee said that despite the massive expansion of television and internet, the educational aspects of the news media had been mostly ignored.
“The Indian media, therefore, has a moral imperative to be at the forefront of setting the discourse about how to deploy media and communication tools for quality education programmes," he said.
Mr Mukherjee called on journalists to present the picture of India they observe, although South Asia might be a challenging space to travel and meet people.
"Integrity and independence are the two sides of the same coin and should be equally important for media and each individual. Media is the mediator between the public and the public servants. It has the power to ensure social justice and equality. It also ensures that the power is not misused," he said. Mr Mukherjee noted that while newspapers were getting closed everywhere, they were doing quite well in India and urged the media to make a meaningful difference in the field of development communication.
"It's the uniqueness of the Indian economy that gets reflected in the fact that while newspapers are getting shut everywhere else, they are doing quite well in India. There are over 1,14,000 publications in India today, and their circulation is a staggering 488 million," he said.
"The world's largest circulated English language newspaper happens to be an Indian daily. With literacy increasing every year, new newspapers are being published," he said.
On the Government’s target of achieving a five trillion dollars economy by 2014, he said attaining the target would be a challenge.
‘’The country aspires to be a five trillion dollar economy in five years and 10 trillion dollar economy in the decade thereafter. It will be a challenging task. Every fifth person in the country is still poor. But with its unique characteristics, the Indian economy was able to withstand the international financial downturn in 2007, even though we had adopted globalisation," he said.
Two teams of intrepid journalists from Reuters bagged two of the five Kalinga-FCC Awards for Excellence in Journalism for 2019. The BBC of the UK, Germany based European Press Photo Agency (EPA), and the PBS News Hour of US shared the other three awards.
The awards were presented by Mr Mukherjee and each awardee received a cheque of Rs one lakh, a trophy, a medal, and a certificate of merit.
The awards, the first of their kind in India, are aimed at encouraging extensive and informed coverage in the global media of India and seven other countries in South Asia that constitute the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). (UNI)