Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Saturday cautioned the media against breaching the standards of ethical and independent journalism and urged the Fourth Estate to be a beacon light of uprightness and objectivity.
“We cannot afford to breach the standards of ethical and independent journalism. The Fourth Estate should be a beacon light of uprightness and objectivity and difference of views and opinions must always be tempered with and find expression through dispassionate discourse,” he said, speaking at the centenary celebrations of veteran journalist Gora Sastri here.
The Vice President recalled the fiercely independent journalism pursued by Gora Sastri and the powerful editorials written by him.
Naidu said he was recalling those instances “to underscore the importance of independence and fearless journalism, which is seen more in its absence today. All around us in the present scenario we find news fused with opinion, thus making it challenging for us to glean news from views and arrive at a considered opinion or conclusion. The real picture gets blurred behind a smokescreen of half-truths and obfuscations,” he said.
Govindu Rama Sastri or Gora Sastri, as he was popularly known to his readers, was a colossus of Telugu journalism and literature, who served as a fountainhead of inspiration to a generation of journalists and writers, he said.
Naidu said he has come across “many shades of media personalities” in his long public life, but very few have left such a deep impact on his mind as Gora Sastri.
Though Gora Sastri and former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao were good friends, the former was highly critical of Rao’s handling of the Telangana agitation as Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, he said.
The media today, be it electronic, print or digital, needs to look up to stalwarts like Gora Sastri, who, were a blend of commitment and forthrightness, modernity and tradition, he added.
The Vice President also wanted journalism courses to include lessons on the lives of great journalists.