‘Traditional media should introspect on its role in society’

BENGALURU, Feb 22: President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday asked the traditional media to introspect on its role in society in the face of the new media, driven by the internet and social media, to earn the reader’s full trust again.
“The new media is fast and popular and people can choose what they want to watch, hear or read. But only the traditional media has, over the years, developed skills to authenticate a news report, and that is a costly operation,” he said in his inaugural speech at the fourth edition of ‘The Huddle’ by English daily The Hindu.
The president said the traditional media would have to introspect on its role in society and find ways to earn the reader’s full trust again.
“The project of democracy is incomplete without informed citizens which means, without unbiased journalism,” he said.
Speaking about the new media, the president said rapidly evolving information technology has impacted journalism in all its aspects, from news gathering to delivering news to readers and, finally, making money to sustain the activity.
The internet and social media have democratized journalism and revitalized democracy, said Kovind, adding that it has also led to many anxieties.
“In this context, only the traditional media remains authentic. I hope that we will arrive at the ideal trade-off soon,” the president said.
Insisting on truth in journalism, Kovind reminded the audience of Mahatma Gandhi, who had a unique understanding of truth.
“Gandhiji was deeply aware of the cause of journalism itself too, which is simply truth itself. That is why he cautioned against the superficiality, the one-sidedness, the inaccuracy and often even dishonesty that had crept into journalism,” the president told the gathering.
Calling the present time a “post-truth era,” Kovind wondered what the Mahatma would have said about it.
He said there have been attempts lately to give various shades of truth and define its stages as if some final truth existed beyond provisional truths.
“To my mind, such attempts are nothing more than indulgence in semantics. Truth exists in absolute form which cannot be eclipsed by blinkers of prejudices. It cannot be a case of ‘your truth’ versus ‘my truth’.
“Truth has to be one,” the president said. (PTI)