Punjab governor and UT administrator Shivraj Patil urged the media to follow the Indian philosophy of taking the “middle path” by maintaining balance and not criticising only for the sake of criticism. “There is a section of the media which has its views and likes to stick to them, giving its assessment of the situation.
There are others who would not like to emphasise on defects. But there are newspapers and channels which are interested in presenting the facts as they are without trying to be sensational, not trying to be very critical and not being very soft.
By and large, this is the correct policy in my view,” he said at a function held at The Lalit hotel here on Thursday to mark the 15th anniversary of Hindustan Times’ Chandigarh edition.
Patil, while lauding HT for maintaining balance in its content, said this was important for credibility. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his Haryana counterpart Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal, Punjab MLAs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Manoranjan Kalia and Randeep Singh Nabha, Punjab Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Singh Khaira, and BJP’s Chandigarh unit president Sanjay Tandon were among the galaxy of politicians, bureaucrats, entrepreneurs and other eminent personalities that graced the occasion.
Badal expressed concern over pressing agrarian sector issues not getting prominence in the media and underlined the need for highlighting agricultural issues instead of pushing them to the backburner.
“The media should not only highlight success stories, but also the crisis the far ming sector has been facing. In this way, it can play a major role in putting the staggering agrarian economy on a strong pedestal,” he said.
The Punjab CM said about 1 lakh farmers had abandoned farming due to negligible returns or squeezed profits. “It is high time the media, both electronic and print, came forward in bailing out the distressed peasantry by highlighting their hardships and agriculture development-oriented stories to boost their morale,” he said.
Applauding Hindustan Times for pursuing healthy practices in journalism, Badal said: “I first pick up HT. I always say, get me HT.”
Hooda, who also spoke on the occasion, said the growing commercialisation of journalism and menace of surrogate advertisements was a matter of concern as the two maladies were bringing a bad name to journalism.
“The touch of sensationalism should be avoided by journalists in the larger interest of society. Journalists should get facts cross-checked before publishing or getting news telecast. Only truth should be highlighted.”
HT senior resident editor Ramesh Vinayak, in his welcome address, said that staying contemporary and credible was the most formidable challenge facing newspapers today and that’s one test that HT had persistently lived up to.
“Credibility has been a nonnegotiable constant of HT philosophy, ingrained in its work ethic and business model. A bold espousal of public interest has earned the newspaper a high degree of credibility.
And that is no small achievement given the rising circulation and diminishing credibility syndrome that afflicts much of the Indian media today,” he said, describing the newspaper as an agent of change.