Narendra Modi’s government believes in freedom of the press, acknowledging it as the essence of democracy and no “external” regulation has worked in media, Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said on his first day in office.
“We believe that press freedom is the essence of democracy. And to make democracy a success, we require this press freedom because it gives people the choice in a rainbow of differing opinions,” the Minister said.
He recalled restrictions imposed on media during the Emergency and said that he was among those who had opposed it.
“There is no external regulation which works in media”, he said.
“In 1975, the media freedom was trampled with, but we fought against it. The people fought against it and I personally was very active on this front because I belong to a family of journalists and therefore we fought and were in jail for sixteen months,” he said.
Mr. Javadekar said that dissent has its place in democracy and added that the government would welcome constructive criticism.
The I&B minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been saying that to run a government, a majority is needed, but to run the country, cooperation of all is required.
Speaking to the media, Mr. Javadekar said that it is a joint mission to see that India prospers to its potential by 2025 and progresses much further by 2030.
“These will be important landmarks,” he said.
When asked about remarks reportedly made by his predecessor Manish Tewari, that the I&B ministry belonged to a past era, Mr. Javdekar replied that an institution can be brought to an end quickly but it takes time to nurture the work culture in an institution.