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National Press Day: Appreciate hard work of media, says PM Modi; Political leaders extend greetings

Emphasising that a free press is a cornerstone in our democracy, the prime minister said that his government was “fully committed to upholding freedom of press and expression in all forms.”

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: November 16, 2017 3:15:31 pm
National Press Day, Press Council of India, November 16, Narendra Modi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi (PTI file photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders greeted the country’s media on Thursday on the occasion of National Press Day which is commemorated each year on November 16 for a free and responsible press in India. PM Modi appreciated the work of journalists and commended the press’ role in giving voice to the voiceless. Emphasising that a free press is a cornerstone of our democracy, the prime minister said his government was “fully committed to upholding freedom of press and expression in all forms.”

“My greetings to all friends in the media on National Press Day. I appreciate the hardwork of our media, especially the reporters & camerapersons, who tirelessly work on the ground and bring forth various news that shapes national as well as global discourse,” PM Modi said in a tweet on Thursday.

Highlighting the carriage given by the media to PM Modi’s Swachh Bharat message, he said, “The role of the media in giving voice to the voiceless is commendable. Over the last three years, the media has added great strength to ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and effectively furthered the message of cleanliness,” he wrote.

The prime minister said the advancements in social media and its use in consumption of news will make the press more democratic and increase participation of the public. “In this day and age we are seeing the rise of social media and news being consumed through mobile phones. I am sure these advancements will further the reach of the media and make the media space even more democratic and participative,” he stated.

On several instances over the past couple of years, the Centre was blamed for trying to gag or censor the media as well as censoring messages coming out of Jammu and Kashmir. But the prime minister assured his government will protect free speech. “A free press is the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy. We are fully committed to upholding freedom of press and expression in all forms. May our media space be used more and more to showcase the skills, strengths and creativity of 125 crore Indians.”

Stressing on the power of truth, BJP MP Rajyavardhan Rathore also extended his greetings to mediapersons.

Trinamool chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeter her greeting to journalists who are strengthening the democracy also noting the foundation day of Press Council of India, the reason National Press Day is celebrated on November 16.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje also highlighted the strong role press had to play in a democratic country and said media is one of the strongest pillars of democracy.

Minister for Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu tweeted his greetings while saying press played an important role in the functioning of India’s democracy.

The National Press Day is commemorated each year on November 16 and is symbolic of a free and responsible press in India. The Press Council of India was set up on July 4, 1966 under the chairmanship of Justice JR Mudholkar as an autonomous, statutory and quasi-judicial body. According to the PCI, it functions “as a moral watchdog to ensure that not only did the press maintain the high standards expected from this powerful medium but also that it was not fettered by the influence or threats of any extraneous factors.”

Most importantly, what sets PCI aside from most press or media councils across the world is that it can exercise authority “even over the instruments of the state in its duty to safeguard the independence of the press.”

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