Prime Minister advises self-regulation by media, says the press must make appropriate changes with time.
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Wednesday there should be no government interference in the functioning of media but advised self-regulation by making appropriate changes with time, asserting that things would not change from external control.
He also expressed concern over recent murders of journalists, saying it was very "painful" and a "most dangerous" way of suppressing truth. His remarks came against the backdrop of murder of two journalists in Bihar.
Speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Press Council of India (PCI), Modi also quoted Mahatma Gandhi to support his assertions seeking self-regulation by the media.
"Mahatma Gandhi had said uncontrolled writing can create huge problems but he had also said that external interference would wreak havoc. Controlling it (media) externally cannot be imagined," he asserted.
"Government should not do any interference. It is true that self-introspection is not easy... It is the responsibility of the PCI and those associated with the press to see to it that what appropriate changes you can make with time. Things do not change from external control," he said.
Though the Prime Minister did not refer to any specific changes, he said unlike journalists in past when they had ample time to make corrections, there is no such opportunity now because of the fast-paced nature of electronic and digital media.
Referring to the Kandahar hijack in 1999, he said news channels' round-the-clock reportage of angry reactions of the families of passengers in the Indian Airlines flight emboldened terrorists as they thought they could get anything from the Indian government with this kind of public pressure.
The episode set off introspection in the media which later came with norms for the coverage of such incidents, Modi said.