Accusing Indian media of promoting superstitions and backward ideas to divert people's attention from real issues, Press Council chairman justice Markandey Katju today alleged that the media houses are often looked upon by their owners as the means of making money.
"In India, the recent tendencies show the media playing a reactionary role. Instead of promoting scientific thinking, it promotes superstitions and backward ideas and diverts attention from real issues which are socio-economic, to non-issues like lives of film stars, cricket, astrology, etc," Katju said in a statement on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.
He appealed media persons to fulfill their social responsibility by promoting scientific and rational thinking. and combating backward thoughts.
Observing that scientific ideas can solve the problems of poverty, unemployment and lack of health-care faced by the country, he said, "The media is often looked upon by its owners as a means of making money- hence the importance of T.R.P rating."
On businessmen owning media houses, he said, "Indian media, is no doubt, largely controlled by businessmen who wish to make money. There is nothing wrong in making money but this must be coupled with social responsibility."
"While Article 19(1) (a) of the Indian Constitution grants freedom of the media. This provision has to be read along with Article 51 A (h) which lays down that it is the duty of all citizens to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform," he added.
Justice Katju said he regretted that media persons, though lay great emphasis on fundamental rights they usually forget their fundamental duties.