Vice President Hamid Ansari pitches for review of condition of media and journalists

NEW DELHI: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday made a strong pitch for reviewing condition of media and how journalists are treated in the country even as he stressed that “correct” news are circulated to people.

Speaking during an event in which he felicitated noted journalist Vinod Agnihotri with 13th ‘Shailikar Prabhakar Samman’ (award), Ansari also rued that many newspapers were working without editors and it is the owners who are deciding what goes into print.

“In many newspapers, there are no editors but only owners. So, whatever the owner says is printed. Think about it, if we did not have the big editors we had in the society, we would have suffered losses,” Ansari said.

Ansari referred to ‘World Press Freedom Index 2014 – Reporters Without Border’ report and said the same should be thought about.

The report, he said, had listed the countries based on position of journalists there and ranked India 136th amongst 180 nations. Pointing towards the same report, he also wanted that problems faced by journalists be analysed and how they are “troubled and treated”.

Ansari noted that questions were raised in India when a standing committee was formed on media in the country seeking to know purpose behind its formation.

Hinting at the need for such a study, Ansari pointed out such that studies were carried out in a country like England too where, he added, “media is considered to be in a good position”.

“The problems faced there are found in each democracy. Where there is no democracy, it is very easy. You close windows, whatever text is provided only that is printed. But where the roads are open (in democracies), how the roads are being used, it needs to be thought about. And here, whatever committees have been formed, be it parliamentary committee or other, a lot has been written about it and it needs to be analysed,” he added.

The Vice President observed media used Article 19 (which deals with freedom of expression) “mostly in right way” post-independence, but added journalists should circulate “correct” news. Ansari also quoted American writer Walter Lippmann to stress that factual reporting be given priority.

The event, organised to mark 103rd birth anniversary of renowned journalist and freedom fighter Padmashree Kanhaiyalal Mishra Prabhakar, was also attended by senior Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Janardan Dwivedi, JD (U) parliamentarian K C Tyagi, BJP spokespman Sudhanshu Trivedi and AAP leader Ashutosh among others.