Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday warned media personnel saying that anyone abusing the press freedom was criminal.
Speaking at the 75th anniversary of a newspaper, Modi said, “Editorial freedom must be used wisely in public interest.
The freedom to write, does not include the freedom to be ‘factually incorrect’. Mahatma Gandhi said: “The press is called the Fourth Estate. It is definitely a power, but, to misuse that power is criminal.”
He added, “Even though media may be owned by private individuals, it serves a public purpose. As scholars say, it is an instrument to produce reform through peace, rather than by force. Hence, it has as much social accountability as the elected government or the judiciary.
Today, every citizen analyses & attempts to verify the news that comes to him through multiple sources. Media, therefore, must make an extra effort to maintain credibility. Healthy competition among credible media platforms is also good for the health of our democracy.”
He also lamented that today’s media only focused on politics and not much on other issues.
He said, “A lot of the media discourse today revolves around politics. However, India is more than just us politicians. It is the 125 crore Indians, which make India what it is. I would be happy to see media focus a lot more, on their stories, and their achievements. Natural calamities seem to be occurring with increasing frequency across the world.
Can media take a lead in the battle against climate change? Can media devote just a little space to report or increase awareness about what we can do to combat climate change?”
Ever since Modi came to power in 2014, the mainstream Indian media, particularly TV channels, have been accused of surrendering their freedom to the central government.