Freedom of press should be used in country’s interests: Naidu | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Freedom of press should be used in country’s interests: Naidu

Amid criticism from the Opposition and media over action against NDTV India, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday the NDA government is committed to freedom of press but the media should use it keeping in mind the interests of the nation.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2016 23:23 IST
PTI
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu
Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu(PTI Photo)

Amid criticism from the Opposition and media over action against NDTV India, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Sunday the NDA government is committed to freedom of press but the media should use it keeping in mind the interests of the nation.

The information and broadcasting minister also said the well-being of the country and society should be kept in mind before broadcasting or publishing any news, and stressed that news and views should not be mixed.

“A big discussion is going on in the country that there should be freedom of press. It should compulsorily be there and the government is committed to this. But, there is a need to think. We are citizens first and then the journalists. That’s my view,” he said.

Read: Why was NDTV India banned and what does the law say?

Political parties including the Congress, Communist Party of India-Marxist and several other national parties and leaders have strongly criticised the ban.

The Congress accused the Narendra Modi-led government of trampling the three pillars of democracy - executive, judiciary and media, and said there was no place for dissent. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the attitude of the government did not match with India’s pluralist character.

Naidu said while broadcasting news, one should keep in mind the interests of society and nation.

“Our government believes in freedom of press and wants the media to truly appreciate the value of such freedom so that it is best used in the interest of the country and the people,” Naidu said at a programme for Urdu journalists.

“The news you are giving should not promote clashes between groups, religions or create unrest in society. The news should not cause harm to the nation’s interests. There should be self-restraint (in following rules),” he said.

Journalists should remember that freedom of expression is best utilised only when the value of such freedom is fully appreciated, he said, adding that when this freedom is not exercised judiciously, our existing laws provide for necessary interventions.

He advised that journalists must always look for information, but must run the news only after confirmation.

“Be nearer to truth and keep away from sensationalism. But what is happening in the electronic media is sensationalism,” he said.

Stating that there are some regulations that media should not preach, something which is anti-national; not propagate against the interest of the country aspects like obscenity, vulgarity, encouraging violence, Naidu asked electronic media and cinema should seriously think about how to avoid vulgarity, obscenity and violence.

He said: “The important thing in media is credibility... which is very important...but now credibility is missing in most of the media, which is unfortunate. We must always work for credibility.”