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Expose democratic inadequacies: Speaker
Stamp of The Tribune released
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 24
Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee today asked the media to criticise the shortcomings in the parliamentary and political system and leave no effort in exposing the inadequacies which would help the growth of the democratic system.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, Mr N.N. Vohra, Justice R.S. Pathak, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Minister for State for Communication and IT Shakeel Ahmad, Mr R.S. Talwar, Dr R.P. Bambah and Mr Sanjay Hazari during the release of the commemorative stamp on the 125th anniversary of The Tribune at a function in New Delhi on Friday.
From left: Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief, Mr N.N. Vohra, Justice R.S. Pathak, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Minister for State for Communication and IT Shakeel Ahmad, Mr R.S. Talwar, Dr R.P. Bambah and Mr Sanjay Hazari during the release of the commemorative stamp on the 125th anniversary of The Tribune at a function in New Delhi on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

“Spare no effort in exposing the inadequacies which will help the institution and the participants to get over them. At the same time duly recognise the effective participation of many of the members,” the Speaker said while releasing the commemorative stamp to mark the 125th anniversary of The Tribune.

Mr Chatterjee did not spare the politicians for disrupting the proceedings of the House and the controversy surrounding the disruption of the House proceedings in the monsoon session was quite fresh in his mind.

“Unable to comprehend the logic of preference for disruption over an opportunity to put across genuine and popular public issues before Parliament through structured debate and discussion which would require the government to make its response on the floor of the House, I asked some leaders about the efficacy of that approach,” he said.

“Their response was that such disruptions were politically more productive as they get greater publicity than the debates, which are very inadequately noticed by the media,” the Speaker said.

Mr Chatterjee said Parliament had to be alert to the criticism and the growing cynicism among the people about it and the “institution collectively and the individual members, who constitute it, will have to function as role models for society at large.”

Lauding the role played by The Tribune in its long journey of 125 years as the mouthpiece of the people with professional concern and abiding commitment, he said The Tribune would continue to serve the nation with its meaningful and people-centric reporting.

Recalling the role The Tribune played during the freedom struggle, he said the paper had been served by some of the great names in Indian journalism. Launched by the visionary, Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, this prestigious newspaper had helped to spread the impulse of national awakening during the freedom struggle and played an important role in sustaining the spirit of the freedom movement, particularly in Punjab, the Speaker said.

“The Tribune has always refused to merely toe the official line, and was openly opposed to the policies of India’s colonial government. After Independence, too, The Tribune has continued to display a remarkable free spirit, national perspective and idealism and has steadfastly continued to champion the cause of the people above all,” said Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology.

He said: “The Tribune has steadfastly and fiercely maintained its integrity and independence, and I congratulate all the people associated with this newspaper for their abiding commitment to the highest norms of journalism.”

The Tribune trustees Justice R S Talwar, Dr R P Bambah, Mr N N Vohra, several members of Parliament, including Union Ministers, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal, Mr Anand Sharma, Mr Ashwani Kumar, intellectuals, senior bureaucrats, diplomats and members of the media fraternity were among those present at the function.

Addressing the function, the president of The Tribune Trust, Justice R S Pathak, said: “Fearlessness has ever been one of The Tribune’s identifying features. During the grim days of Partition, amidst the murders and the violence in Lahore, The Tribune maintained an uninterrupted publication and that even during the days of latter day militancy in Punjab, it unfailingly held its ground and fulfilled its obligation to its readers.”

He said the media was one of the most powerful forces affecting national life today. “Its power is well-nigh overwhelming. Its operation on the common mind is deep and far-reaching. It determines how individuals think, affects their public opinion, and shapes their social behaviour. Its influence enters the human sub-conscious and is a significant determinant in decision making. The course of human events can be altered. It can bring an euphoric happiness but also insufferable pain and distress,” Justice Pathak said.

“It is indisputable, therefore, that the power wielded by the media is invested with a serious responsibility. That responsibility is an essential concomitant of the power and privileges of the media, especially where an individual’s public reputation and an invasion of his privacy is involved. Newsgathering and reporting carry duties whose importance the media should never under-estimate,” the former Chief Justice of India said.

“In The Tribune, those duties are regarded seriously and consequences are weighed carefully before publication. Popular opinion is unanimous that The Tribune provides authentic news, reports objectively and accurately and keeps an careful eye on the consequences,” he said.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, Mr H K Dua, in his welcome address said the 125th anniversary celebrations were inaugurated by the Prime Minister, Mr Manmohan Singh at a function in Chandigarh. The stamp release was the grand finale of the celebration and thanked Mr Chatterjee and Mr Ahmad for gracing the occasion.

Commenting on the growing conflict between different organs of the state, he said: “We would like institutions like the Parliament, the judiciary and the executive do their best to lead India of the 21st century.”

“It does worry the people and us in The Tribune when any of the institutions crosses the subtle Lakshman Rekha that has been drawn around them by the Constitution,” Mr Dua said.

He said: “The people across the country are not happy about some signs of a conflict developing between Parliament and the judiciary lately. No democracy can function when any of these institutions oversteps the limits of power, trespasses into another’s domain and upsets the fine balance struck by those who wrote the Constitution.”

Mr Dua observed “the usual good sense and spirit of resilience of India will ultimately come to prevail over some of the strains which develop some time or the other. This will give the people of the country a sense of assurance.”

In his vote of thanks The Tribune general manager Sanjay Hazari recalled how the paper started on February 2, 1881 as a weekly and turned into a daily on January 1, 1901, has been published uninterrupted despite shifting its base from Lahore to Shimla to Ambala to Chandigarh.

With its four lakh circulation and editions in Chandigarh, Jalandhar and Delhi, The Tribune with its sister publications Punjabi Tribune and Dainik Tribune have become an inseparable part of daily routine to many and continues to grow despite stiff competition.



Rush on first day cover
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 24
The release of a commemorative postage stamp, to mark the 125th anniversary of The Tribune today, got an overwhelming response from the philately enthusiasts and readers of the paper.

Throughout the day, a heavy rush was witnessed at the GPO, Sector 17, as people waited patiently to get the First Day Cover of the stamp. “It is a great opportunity to collect the First Day Cover of the stamp, so I am collecting at least 10 of these,” said Mr Taranjeet Singh, a trader in Sector 7, who claimed that he had been a reader of The Tribune for the past 34 years.

The First Day Cover of the stamp, with a man reading a newspaper, had in fact, run out of stock by the afternoon. Mr Rakesh Walia, Joint Secretary of the Chandigarh Philately Club and member of Philatelic Congress of India, said that he was impressed with the beautiful design of the stamp. “I was waiting anxiously for the stamp to be released and was among the first ones at the GPO to pick up the first day cover,” he said.

An information brochure, containing the history of The Tribune, is also available at the GPO. Many of the philately enthusiasts were seen reading the brochure at the GPO.



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