Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni on Friday expressed concern at a section of the media’s attempts at sensationalising news.
“There are 500 channels and a number of newspapers and magazines. There is a sense of claustrophobia and too much of unconfirmed and sensational news, but newspapers stand out in all this,” she said at a function held here to mark the 10th anniversary of Hindustan Times’ Chandigarh edition.
Observing that there was tremendous scope for newspapers to grow, Soni said newspaper readership had grown at 6 per cent in India.
Newspapers needed to focus on the youth and provide content that could be kept for future reference, she said.
Punjab Governor-cum-Chandigarh Administrator Shivraj Patil, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal were among those present on the occasion.
Patil said newspapers needed to appreciate good work and put things in the correct perspective, apart from exposing wrong-doing and lapses.
“What we also need to know is what is going to happen and how to deal with it,” he remarked.
While commending Hindustan Times for its quality and journalistic ethics, Badal said that newspapers needed to focus on issues of public interest such as poverty, unemployment, rural areas and food security. “It is unimaginable that people are still dying of hunger,” he said.
HT Media Ltd Chairperson Shobhana Bhartia, in her welcome address, said that credibility had been the non-negotiable constant of the Hindustan Times philosophy.
“At a time when selling news has become a common practice, Hindustan Times understands the value of providing objective information that can be trusted. Without this bedrock of trust, a long-lasting relationship between a paper and its readers is simply futile,” she said.