Address by Governor at the presentation of the awards instituted by Mantralaya Vidhan Mandal Vartahar Sangh at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the presentation of the awards instituted by Mantralaya Vidhan Mandal Vartahar Sangh at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai at 5 pm on Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Jaikumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism, Shri Arvind Sawant, MP, Shri Rajpurohit, MLA, Shri Dilip Sapate, President of Mantralaya aani Vidhan Mandal Vartahar Sangh, other office bearers of the Vartahar Sangh, journalist friends and members of their families, ladies and gentlemen,
सर्व प्रथम मी आपणा सर्वांचे राज भवन येथे मनःपूर्वक स्वागत करतो. आज येथे अनेक ज्येष्ठ आणि वरिष्ठ पत्रकार आले आहेत, त्यांचे मी विशेष करून स्वागत करतो.
पत्रकार दिन, दिनांक ६ जानेवारी रोजी, झाला असला तरीही, मी आपणा सर्वांना पत्रकार दिनाच्या खूप खूप शुभेच्छा देतो.
पुरस्कार प्राप्त सर्व पत्रकारांचे मी मनःपूर्वक अभिनंदन करतो. पुरस्कार निवड समिती तसेच मंत्रालय विधीमंडळ वार्ताहार संघाचे देखील मी अभिनंदन करतो.
When Shri Dilip Sapate and other senior office bearers of the Mantralay Vidhi Mandal Vartahar Sangh met me last week, I agreed to their request immediately because of two reasons.
The first, rather selfish, is that I was actually looking forward to meet all of you.
The second reason is because of the high standards of journalism maintained by journalists from Maharashtra.
For fifteen long years, I was BJP Group leader in the then unified Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. During these years, I had regular interaction with my journalist friends, especially those covering the Assembly and the Secretariat. Sometimes, during lunch hours, we often shared food and also exchanged stories. As you know, journalists cannot live without politicians, and likewise, politicians cannot survive without journalists ! Of course, both are essential for democracy. This meeting reminds me of those wonderful days when I spent time with my journalist friends. Unfortunately, as Governor, I cannot share any political stories with you !!
Media is rightly regarded as the fourth pillar of democracy. Indian media has played a major role in the nation’s freedom movement. It has played an equally important role in strengthening democracy at the grassroots level and in securing justice for the people, especially the poor.
Maharashtra has had the most distinguished tradition of journalists, many of whom were front ranking freedom fighters.
Lokmanya Tilak, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and many others used the might of their pen to secure freedom and justice for the people. Journalists in Maharashtra are inheritors of this great legacy.
The Mantralaya Vidhi Mandal Vartahar Sangh has played a significant role in strengthening our democracy and making it participatory and representative. Journalists representing this segment are the most critical link connecting the executive and legislature with the people. Through your writings and comments, you engage the people in parliamentary democracy and debate and in the functioning of the government. Through your writings and reporting, you also remind the executive and the legislature of their accountability to the people. Needless to say, people of this country, especially those coming from rural areas, farmers and workers have great expectations from the journalistic fraternity.
Journalism is becoming an increasingly challenging profession, not just in India, but all over the world.
Media houses are facing challenges to survive in the face of cut-throat competition and falling revenues. Today there are more than a thousand television channels, online news portals and several thousand whatsapp groups delivering news.
I strongly suspect that this necessity to grab the attention of the reader or viewer has brought, – what I term as, – the syndrome of ‘breaking news’. Today, I miss the news, plain news, ordinary news, pure news….I only get the staple of ‘breaking news’.
The arrival of social media, coupled with smart phones has come as a disrupting change in the way news are created, delivered and consumed. In the past, news first reached the hands of journalists, before reaching the readers in a refined manner. Today, news reaches the hands of the people directly, sometimes even before it reaches journalists. People are consuming raw news and unfiltered news.
While social media is a powerful weapon in the hands of the people, it has a flip side to it.
Social media has the nasty potential to deflect the attention of society from the narrative of development, from the ongoing discourse on development. It has tremendous potential to divert the attention of the entire society from the problems and issues faced by the common man and the ordinary people.
Social media is often misused with devastating impact to spread lies, falsehood and provocative news which have adverse impact on social harmony, law and order and even unity of the country.
I do feel that mainstream media and all pillars of democracy must view the challenge posed by the new media and devise a collective response. It is the duty of all right thinking people to restore the focus of public discourse on the real issues of the people.
As Chancellor of Universities in Maharashtra, I do feel that the Mantralaya Vidhi Mandal Vartahar Sangh must work closely with media departments of universities and colleges. If you wish to become a Chartered Account, you have to do 3 years of articleship. I do feel that it should be mandatory for every student of journalism to do at least 2 years of internship with media houses, newspapers or news channels to become eligible for a job of journalist or accreditation. Such internship will improve the knowledge and understanding of young reporters and improve the quality of reporting.
The Government of Maharashtra is serious about addressing the concerns of journalists. Last year, the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly unanimously passed the ‘Maharashtra Mediapersons and Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, 2017,’ which is aimed at preventing attacks on media persons and media establishments. The government is also serious about the welfare of journalists.
I appeal to you to uphold the best traditions of journalism and maintain your independence at all costs.
I congratulate Shri Vijay Vaidya who has been presented the Lifetime achievement award today. Shri Vaidya is a personification of dedication to duty and commitment to the people. People like Shri Vaidya are an institution in themselves. I also congratulate Smt Sarita Kaushik, Shri Suhas Sardeshmukh and Shri Sandeep Ashar who were honoured today.
पुन्हा एकदा मी मंत्रालय विधी मंडळ वार्ताहार संघाचे आजच्या आयोजनाबद्दल अभिनंदन करतो आणि मला येथे निमंत्रित केल्याबद्दल आपणांस धन्यवाद देतो.
जय हिंद !! जय महाराष्ट्र !!