30 April 2023 3:37 AM GMT
Justice BV Nagarathna, speaking at the Seema Nazareth Award organised by the Business Standard, called for a regulatory mechanism for the "new age of journalism" popularised after the onset of digital media. While stating that fake news could rock the bedrock of democracy and that it was necessary to shun prejudice in news reports, Justice Nagarathna remarked that self-regulation by...
Justice BV Nagarathna, speaking at the Seema Nazareth Award organised by the Business Standard, called for a regulatory mechanism for the "new age of journalism" popularised after the onset of digital media. While stating that fake news could rock the bedrock of democracy and that it was necessary to shun prejudice in news reports, Justice Nagarathna remarked that self-regulation by electronic media had proved to be quite ineffective and there needed to be some regulation to bind today's journalism.
She was speaking on the topic 'A free and balanced press: sentinel of democracy' as the Chief Guest at the Business Standard Seema Nazareth Awards and said–
"People earlier did not have access to such large information but now they do. Accuracy should not be compromised in the race to report an event. There is the Press Council of India to regulate news reports but for news channels there is self regulation and self regulation is not the adequate solution as it binds those who willingly is a part of such regulation. There should be some regulation which binds this new age of journalism."
In her speech, Justice Nagarathna recognised the claim to speak, to publish, and to make known as "one of the great historic claims to liberty". However, she said that a free and balanced press was fundamental. She warned that media, being the fourth pillar of democracy, should remain unbiased. She added–
"Playing a devils advocate to the government should not become the sole aim of the press. It must be focused on constructive criticism."
Speaking on fake news and yellow journalism, she called for prejudice in news to be weeded out as sensationalism makes it difficult for an average reader to understand any story. She added–
"In today's age of clickbait journalism, there exists a subtle line which should not be crossed. Journalists must give complete context while quoting people from public life. Mixing of politics with journalism is detrimental to the idea of free speech and if media has to enjoy the trust of the public, it must resist all temptations to mix the two."
Finally, concluding her address, she called for a regulatory body, not to control media but to file complaints against media entities which propagated fake news. She said–
"A regulatory body should not become a means to exercise control over the body of the press. I express hope that all journalists will navigate their profession by maintaining highest standards of ethics and right to free press must be exercised with the belief that a right comes with responsibilities not only to the public but also to the nation."