M A I N   N E W S

Media shouldn’t play judge: Omar
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 23
Lauding The Tribune for maintaining credibility throughout its 131-year history, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said free media was an important pillar of democracy, but it should refrain from becoming a judge and bringing personal slant in news.

He said this while addressing a distinguished audience at Royal Retreat after launching “Jammu Tribune”, a daily pull-out of The Tribune.

Omar said, “There are so many examples before us where media passes judgments and the facts ultimately prove differently. This is the point where the shoe pinches. I don’t think the truth gives us sleepless nights. It is the passing of judgments without ascertaining facts, and biased projection of reports that give us sleepless nights.”

The Chief Minister said the main reason for The Tribune’s fair and objective coverage was that it was managed by a trust and not by an individual or a family. “This is the reason that this newspaper has been able to withstand various pulls and pressures and any sort of individual desire to steer it in a particular direction,” he observed.

Governor NN Vohra said it was not the role of the media to become investigators, prosecutors or judges, all within half an hour.

Elaborating on the relevance of the print media in the age of TV and Internet, the Governor said a serious reader of a newspaper could expand the limits of his understanding and look into the near future, whether it was economic analysis, security analysis, commentary on defence or educational scene.

“The essential importance of the print media, notwithstanding what happens in the realm of electronic media in terms of speed, is that it provides serious, prudent, well-considered analysis and commentary on events, even on day-to-day events sometimes, but particularly on events that are not day-to-day,” he said.

He said it was not the job of the media to draw conclusions, tarnish anybody’s image, castigate personalities or run down institutions.

Justice (retd) SS Sodhi, Tribune Trustee, recounted the history of the newspaper and how it had shaped Independent India. He recalled how The Tribune was the favourite newspaper of Mahatma Gandhi.

Remembering the great visionary Sardar Dyal Singh Majithia, founder of The Tribune, he said, “He conceived this newspaper. As a social and political reformer, he was far ahead of his time. The guiding principles he envisaged for The Tribune was of being an independent and fearless newspaper free from any sectarian, political or commercial bias.”

“Looking back, we can claim with pride that it has been an effective watchdog for the people at large,” he said.

Welcoming the dignitaries, Raj Chengappa, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, said the newspaper looked forward to expanding its coverage of the state and to cover major events without fear or favour.

He said his visits to the state and interaction with the people and leaders has revealed that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is on the cusp of a major transformation. “Its people are no more willing to be locked in the past. Now, there is a visible desire to move forward without looking back. An exciting future is opening out for the state and The Tribune, by expanding its coverage of Jammu and Kashmir, is committed to keeping the people of the state informed and updated on the trials and tribulations of this great movement forward. Indeed, there is a new dawn visible on the horizon,” he said.

Sanjay Hazari, General Manager of the Tribune Trust, offered a vote of thanks to the guests. SS Mehta and Naresh Mohan, Trustees of the Tribune Trust, also participated in the function.

First Lady Usha Vohra, Chairman of the Legislative Council Amrit Malhotra, ministers Abdul Rahim Rather, Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Ghulam Hassan Mir, RS Chib, Sham Lal Sharma, Abdul Gani Malik, SS Slathia, Political Adviser to CM Devender Sing Rana, Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda, Vice-Chancellor of Jammu University Prof MPS Ishar, Chief Post Master General, J&K Circle, John Samuel, senior officers, leaders of various political leaders, mediapersons and prominent citizens attended the function. 





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