The Narendra Modi government at the Centre is committed towards ensuring a free press and will look into the possibility of introducing a central law to prevent attacks on journalists, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said in Mumbai.
“We have earned the press freedom, we did not get it for free. We have gone through a lot of struggle. This (freedom of press) is the essence of democracy and it needs to be preserved. The Modi government is committed towards full freedom to media and that is our principle because we believe in it,” Mr. Javadekar said at the Press Club Mumbai’s ‘RedInk Awards’ 2014 last night.
Stating that attacks on media-men are serious, the Minister said, “It has to be prevented. Some state governments have taken a lead and enacted them (laws). We will definitely look into the possibility of whether a central law can be brought to prevent attack on journalists and the press.”
Stressing on the need to bring in self-regulation, Mr. Javadekar said, “As you know that nothing is absolute. Freedom entails responsibility. What we as in society expects from the media? Accuracy, balance and fairness…that is the basis of journalism.
Sometimes we wonder freedom of whom? To owners, editors or journalists who are working hard on the stories, readers or viewers for the electronic and print media? So I think ethics and duties are definitely an issue to discuss. But is it sounding something like censorship? No. I think self-regulation is the best way. I don’t like the word regulation; I feel that self-corrective mechanism needs to be in your system.”
The minister also sought to know whether media is going to play up what public is interested in or what is in the larger public interest.
In the backdrop of veteran journalists debating on “Elections 2014 : Were We fair or Did We stoke the Namo Wave?” held during the event, Mr. Javadekar said, “You cannot sell bad products by good advertisements, and for people, this time Modi was the best and that is why he was chosen.”