The “dividing line” between news and opinion has weakened which leaves viewers and readers searching for facts and print media can “strike back” by presenting them without a “slant”, information and broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.
The senior minister, who unveiled the annual ‘Press in India 2014-15’ report, said while there has been an explosion of TV channels, viewers often watch “shrill debates” and their craving for facts is not satisfied.
Jaitley, who also holds the finance portfolio, said that with the vast expansion of media in various segments like print, electronic and internet, many versions of the same news are presented. “It is the reader who then has to decide where the truth lies,” he said.
The old principle, Jaitley said, was that news is sacred and should be presented clearly “without any slant” adding that opinion could be presented in editorials. “I feel the dividing line between news and opinion has weakened much,” Jaitley said.
In this scenario, print media can “strike back” by presenting facts with clarity, he added. “I say strike back because the way there has been an explosion of TV channels. And often on TV channels there is shrill debate. After that debate, the viewer is left searching for the actual news. So print media has a big opportunity that lucid clear news without any opinion reaches the reader.” he said.
Jaitley said that while print organisations are facing a challenge world over, their numbers continue to grow. Such a trend, he said, is good for democracy.
Referring to the latest data brought out by Registrar for Newspapers in India (RNI) in the report, he said newspapers have grown at over eight percent and a large part of it is because of growth in regional newspapers.