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Monday, Oct 03, 2022

Media house with other business interests becomes vulnerable to external pressures: CJI Ramana

The CJI said that “when a media house has other business interests, it becomes vulnerable to external pressures. Often, the business interests prevail over the spirit of independent journalism. As a result, democracy gets compromised”.

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana (PTI, file)

Underlining the importance of independent journalism in a democracy, Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Tuesday called upon the media to “confine itself to honest journalism without using it as a tool to expand its influence and business interests”.

The CJI said that “when a media house has other business interests, it becomes vulnerable to external pressures. Often, the business interests prevail over the spirit of independent journalism. As a result, democracy gets compromised”. He was speaking at the launch of a book titled ‘The Gita Vijnana Upanishad’, authored by Gulab Kothari, chairman of the Rajasthan Patrika Group.

Addressing the gathering, CJI Ramana said “independent journalism is the backbone of democracy. Journalists are the eyes and the ears of the people. It is the responsibility of media houses to present facts. Especially in the Indian social scenario, people still believe that whatever is printed is true. All I want to say is that the media must confine itself to honest journalism without using it as a tool to expand its influence and business interests”.

Recalling “that only media houses without business baggage, were able to fight for democracy during the dark days of emergency”, he said “the true nature of media houses will certainly be assessed from time to time, and appropriate conclusions will be drawn from their conduct during testing times”.

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The CJI reminisced about the brief period he worked as a journalist, saying “there was healthy competition among journalists to do great public interest stories”.

He added: “I am sure there are journalists who are equally enthused in today’s media, too. But after taking risks and putting in a lot of hard work and energy, a brilliant story filed by a journalist is killed at the desk. It is thoroughly demoralising for a genuine journalist. You cannot blame him or her, if they encounter such situations repeatedly, they lose faith in the profession.”

The CJI said there “is still a huge lacuna when it comes to systemic support for journalists in India”.

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Pointing out that India “still does not have an award which is comparable to the Pulitzer” nor “do we produce many Pulitzer-winning journalists”, he urged “stakeholders to introspect as to why our standards are not considered good enough for international recognition and laurels”.

First published on: 26-07-2022 at 10:04:36 pm
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