President Pranab Mukherjee raises concerns over paid news

Speaking at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of the INS, the Indian President stressed on the need for self-correcting mechanisms to check such aberrations. He also flayed the temptation to "dumb down" news

e4m by Abid Hasan
Updated: Feb 28, 2014 7:55 AM
President Pranab Mukherjee raises concerns over paid news

The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has kicked off its Platinum Jubilee celebrations with a special event organised at the Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on February 27, 2014.

As is known, INS started way back on October 11, 1927, when a society bearing the name, The India, Burma & Ceylon Newspapers’ London Committee, came into being. The name was changed to Indian & Eastern Newspaper Society (IENS) on October 4, 1935. This was an organisation based in London, representing and acting solely under the authority of newspapers, magazines, reviews and other journals published in India, Burma (now Myanmar), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and other countries of Asia.

Speaking at the Platinum Jubilee ceremony, President of India, Pranab Mukherjee said, “The Indian Newspaper Society has over the years met the challenges of time even as it has represented the most influential of India’s newspapers and periodicals.”

Praising the newspaper body, he said, “The INS has helped create and nurture institutions like the Press Trust of India and the Audit Bureau of Circulation. INS members have played a vital role in nurturing a free press. which is a critical component of our democracy.”

At the same time, Mukherjee also said, “It is distressing to note that some publications have resorted to ‘paid news’ and other such marketing strategies to drive their revenues. There is need for self-correcting mechanisms to check such aberrations.”

He further said that the temptation to “dumb down” news should also be resisted. “The nation faces critical challenges that go well beyond the pressure of ‘Breaking News’ and immediate headlines. While you must continue to be effective raconteurs, you must also be visionary nation builders. You are, after all, the crystal ball that millions of Indians gaze at. It is your responsibility and your bounden duty to ensure that ideas are debated dispassionately and thoughts articulated without fear or favour so that opinion is always well informed,” the President added.

Sharing his thoughts at the event, Ravindra Kumar, President, INS said, “Beyond the rituals of a landmark celebration, there are important facets of our life as a society of newspapers that must be acknowledged. We are 75. By virtue of our age, and our experience, we must be presumed to possess a mature appreciation of the needs of the newspaper industry. We have faced several crises in the years gone by. We have dealt with these with equanimity and occasionally even with a degree of skill.”

It may be noted that the INS Platinum Jubilee celebrations are being held amid the controversy regarding the Indian Readership Survey.

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