Kerala: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said that time has come for media bodies to come out with a code of conduct for journalists in view of the critical role journalism plays in protecting democracy and in serving the larger good of the society.
Addressing the gathering after inaugurating the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Kollam Press Club in Kollam here, Naidu observed that instead of giving expression to popular feeling, the newspapers these days were giving expression to coloured and partisan views.
“Journalists must never shirk from the core principles of journalism like independence and objectivity and shun unhealthy practices such as sensationalism. A minimum educational qualification for aspiring journalists must be there,” said Naidu, adding that it was absolutely necessary to ensure that the standards and ethics of journalism are maintained and not compromised. He further added that journalists should be ensured income security.
Maintaining that the Fourth Estate had always championed the cause of the underdogs and had time and again successfully highlighted the omissions and commissions of those in power, the Vice President said journalism was a mission for fighting every ill that afflicted the society.
“The same cannot be said of the noble profession any longer as commercial and other considerations were taking precedence over everything else. One would have to read a minimum of four to five major newspapers to get a complete sense of the current developments. Same is the case with the news channels,” said Naidu.
He asked media organizations to focus more on rural issues, including agriculture, shortcomings in the system and promote accountability.
The Vice President said also it was important for newspapers to accord importance to development journalism and report on challenges relating to agriculture, urban-rural divide, climate change, gender equality, and women’s safety, impact of rapid urbanization, illiteracy, poverty and delivery of health services instead of focusing on negativity.
Governor P Sathashivam was also present.