Strength of democracy depends on informed citizens: Er. Vitsu
National Press Day observed in Kohima
KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 16
ALONG with the rest of the country, the Kohima Press Club (KPC) in collaboration with the Directorate of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) today observed National Press Day 2013 in the premises of KPC, Kohima on the theme ‘Role of Media in Serving Public Interest’.Parliamentary Secretary for IPR, Printing & Stationary, Er. Kropol Vitsu, who graced the occasion as the chief guest, asserted that media plays a significant as well as a crucial role in the society and as such, it has a huge responsibility to shoulder. He maintained that media, being the bridge between the governing bodies and general public, is a powerful and flexible tool that influences the public to a great extent.
Pointing out that the strength of a democracy depends greatly on “informed citizens making educated decisions”, the parliamentary secretary said the media should strive to promote diversity where a range of views and opinions can be presented. It should also present relevant and substantive content and be independent of influences that are uncalled for, he stated.
Considering the fact that media has the power to influence the entire society, Vitsu observed that the media fraternity should know their responsibility towards the public and educate people in a positive manner by disseminating fair analysis and factual information. He said many people, particularly sources of stories, are of the view that the media should wait until decisions have been made before covering a story. However, he asserted that the public have the greater need to know decisions that are in the offing , and media, “like a sentry at the gate” has to watch over the horizon and announce what changes are approaching whether good or inconsequential.
Speaking on the theme of the occasion, Editor, Eastern Mirror, Bano Haralu said the role of the media is to disseminate news and information that would be in the interest of the public and not something that interests the public. While acknowledging that the global media is undergoing a sea change, she lamented that along with this, there is an increasing divide between national and local media.
She briefly shared her professional experiences in television and the print media and observed that both have equal role to play in connecting with the people. Nevertheless, she felt that newspaper journalists have a far greater responsibility in influencing the public.
In the context of Nagaland, she underscored the need for journalists to know their backgrounds and reinvent their role. She opined that while bearing in mind the sensitivity of issues, journalists have to act on the guideline of truth, which she feels is the best barometer to put out any story.
“We need to be more informed not just about Nagaland but also what is going on in the periphery,” Haralu said. She also felt that there is a need for more vernacular papers in the State so as to reach out to the grassroots and create more debates. “An informed public is good for the progress of society,” she asserted, and called upon the members of the Fourth Estate to reinvent their roles and break new grounds on stories and information that are relevant to the Naga society.
She maintained that though Nagaland is attaining 50 years of statehood, media is still in a nascent stage, and with Naga society in a stage of transition there is a disconnect in many areas within the society. To this end, she stated that the media has to break out and bridge this gap.
The programme was chaired by KPC general secretary Rita Krocha. Members of the media fraternity from print and electronic medium, including KPC members, DIPR officials and staff, PRO defence and PRO Assam Rifles, attended the programme.
National Press Day, observed every year on the 16th of November, is symbolic of a free and responsible press in India. This was the day on which the Press Council of India started functioning as a moral watchdog to ensure that not only did the press maintain the high standards expected from this powerful medium but also that it was not fettered by the influence or threats of any extraneous factors. The Press Council of India is a unique entity being the only body to exercise an authority even over the instruments of the state in its duty to safeguard the independence of the press.