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Scribes decry Tamil Nadu incident on Press Day
Tribune News Service

The Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr S.P. Singh, addresses a seminar on "Role of media in society" on the occasion of Press Day in Jalandhar
The Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Dr S.P. Singh, addresses a seminar on “Role of media in society” on the occasion of Press Day in Jalandhar on Sunday. — Photo by S.S. Chawla

Shimla, November 16
Mediapersons called for a proper codification of privileges of legislators and an honest introspection by journalists to prevent re-enactment of the unsavoury incident, currently taking place in Tamil Nadu, during a seminar on “Legislature, executive and the role of media in democracy”, organised to mark Press Day here today.

Mr Mukesh Agnihotri, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, who presided over the seminar, decried the increasing tendency to use “breach of privilege” as a tool to muzzle the voice of media. He disapproved of legislators bringing privilege motions against mediapersons on trivial issues. Privilege should not be used as a weapon to browbeat the journalists, he said.

However, he did not favour the demand of a section of the mediapersons that officers and employees should not be allowed to initiate criminal defamation proceedings against them without the permission of the government. He said defamation concerned an individual who was at the receiving end of the media reports and had the right to take legal action.

Mr Dinesh Kumar, Resident Editor of the Times of India, said with idealism giving way to opportunism the quality of politicians, bureaucrats and journalists was on the decline.

Mr B.K. Panwar, Director, Institute of Mass Communication, Solan, underlined the need for proper training of journalists, who must go through the mill before taking big assignments. He lamented that nowadays “inspired leaks” by interested parties were passed as exclusive stories with bylines. Corporate giants who believed in selling news like any other commodity controlled newspapers, he said.

Mr P.C. Lohumi, Bureau Chief of the PTI, said the Tamil Nadu episode might become a blessing in disguise as the intervention of the apex court could settle the issue of privilege once and for all.

KULU: Press Day was observed by the Department of Public Relations, here today. The topic, “Sansad, vidhan mandal aur media”, was discussed in which mediapersons lauded the role of the media and keeping the people of the country informed.

Mr Ram Dev, APRO, said the media was the fourth pillar of the democracy and freedom of the Press had proved to be a strong link between the legislature, the executive and the general public.

The mediapersons also condemned the recent attack on the media by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and lauded the functioning of the Editor and reporters of The Hindu. They also condemned the attack on a journalist in Kangra and urged the Chief Minister to ensure security of the mediapersons in the state.

UNA: ADM Amitabh Awasthi, while presiding over a district-level function held on Press Day, said to strengthen the democratic set-up all four pillars, namely the legislature, the executive, the judiciary and the Press, should be equally strong. The function was attended by about 40 mediapersons from the district. Kanwar Hari Singh, Adviser of the Una Press Club, said for strong democracy, relation between all four pillars should be cordial.

General Secretary of the club Rajesh Sharma stressed on the awareness of the mediapersons regarding their rights, limitations and privileges.

CHAMBA: Journalists of various newspapers and news agencies, including the electronic media, urged the government to codify privileges for scribes by bringing in a legislation.

This was the crux of an interaction held on Press Day here today. On this occasion, a symposium on “Parliament, Assembly and media” was presided over by Mr Mahesh Pathania, District Public Relations Officer.

NAHAN: While participating in a discussion on the role of media in democracy, the ADC, Mr Subhash Kalsotra, said that all pillars of democracy, especially media, would have to be sensitive towards feelings of the common man to provide justice to the downtrodden section of society.

He said a large section of the society had tremendous faith in the media. Indian Express correspondent S.P. Jerath termed the events in Tamil Nadu as unfortunate and urged for the freedom of the Press. Mr S.R. Pundir from The Tribune said journalism was a mission.

YAMUNANAGAR: Press Day was observed here today by journalists of the district. Mr Surinder Mehta, district president of the Haryana Union of Journalists, along with his colleagues, gave a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner, Yamunanagar, to be forwarded to the President and the Governor and the Chief Minister of Haryana.

In the memorandum, the journalists emphasised that the Press was the fourth estate. Mr Mehta said stringers should be given proper wages and facilities. He alleged even after 56 years of Independence, owners of newspapers exploited the stringers.

JALANDHAR: An interaction was organised between students of mass communication and journalists, including Dr S.P. Singh, Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, by the Jalandhar Working Journalists Welfare Association on Press Day today.

Journalism and mass communication students from Kanya Mahavidyalya and Hans Raj Mahila Mahavidyalya enquired about the role of the media, working conditions, and how to cover events. The Vice-Chancellor and the Punjab Technical Education Minister, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, expressed their one-time desire to become full time journalists.

Dr S.P. Singh said the Indian media should learn from the western concept of journalism. “Over sensationalisation and the greed to expand stories, especially in local editions of newspapers, drifts journalists away from responsible journalism,” said Dr S.P. Singh, who had worked with a local daily before venturing in the field of education. He said he wanted to remain in the field of education. He said he wanted to remain in the field, but, for financial constraints. Mr Kaypee, said before became a lawyer and later a politician, he wanted to become a journalist.

Mr Rajiv Bhaskar, senior vice-president of the association, shared his experiences.

A number of journalists from various newspapers also participated.

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