Expressing concern over the falling standards of journalism and heavy relying of reporters on internet, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Smriti Irani on Saturday said there should be only one agenda in journalism, which is ‘truth’.Addressing the gathering at the Annual General Meeting of the Federation of PTI Employees’ Unions here, Ms Irani said journalism is not an easy job, it requires a lot of ground work and dedication.
‘Nowadays, mediapersons, especially the young reporters, rely completely on social media, especially ‘Google Baba’ for their news stories and information,’ she added, while talking on theme ‘Professional Insecurity and New Challenges in Media’ at the event. She further said, ‘Another point to be worried about is source-based news. A lot of reporters, especially those of the electronic media, play football with the news, running their stories, saying ‘according to sources’.
‘If you are not sure about a certain development or do not have proof about your item, then please don’t put your name behind it. A journalist should be honest to himself. Only then, he will be able to deliver the correct news,’ Ms Irani added. According to the Union Minister, the whole concept of journalism needs a revamp.
‘We need to re-institutionalise the institution called Journalism,’ she said.Talking about the influence of media over the people, the Union Minister said a section of the mediapersons think they set the agenda of a particular news and everything goes according to them.
‘This is a very disturbing trend, not just for Journalists, but for the society as a whole. I met a lot of mediapersons, who felt proud on being told that they set the agenda for a certain development. Reporters think the power lies in their hands.’The country should set its own agenda and the reporters should fulfill it,’ she added.
Talking about her personal experiences, Ms Irani said ‘Around 23-24 years ago, I worked as a stringer under the able guidance of Sudhir Chaudhary, who is now the Editor In Chief of Zee News.’She said after becoming a Union Minister, this is her first non-governmental event.
‘I’ve never been to media house, but have come to attend the employees union programme of a news agency. Says a lot about my feelings for the media organisations of the country,’ she added. Editor-in-Chief of UNI Ashok Upadhyay was the Guest of Honour at the programme, attended by Union Minister for Communication Manoj Sinha, National Spokesperson of Indian National Congress Randeep Surjewala, PTI members and other media dignitaries.