The Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu has cautioned the media against breaching the standards of ethical and independent journalism and urged the Fourth Estate to be a beacon light of uprightness and objectivity.
Paying tributes to veteran editor and writer, late Shri Gora Sastri at his centenary celebrations, in Hyderabad today, the Vice President emphasized that difference of views and opinions must always be tempered with and find expression through dispassionate discourse.
Reminding the audience of the fiercely independent journalism pursued by Gora Sastri and the powerful editorials written by him, the Vice President said he was recalling those instances “to underscore the importance of independence and fearless journalism, which is seen more in its absence today. All around us in the present scenario we find news fused with opinion, thus making it challenging for us to glean news from views and arrive at a considered opinion or conclusion. The real picture gets blurred behind a smokescreen of half-truths and obfuscations”, he added.
The Vice President expressed his concern over the degeneration of values in various fields, including journalism and emphasized that news should not be mixed with views. He advised journalists to leave the final judgment to readers and not to give judgments themselves.
Naidu said that the media today – be it electronic, print or digital – needs to look up to stalwarts like Shri Gora Sastri, who were a blend of commitment and forthrightness, modernity and tradition. “As contemporaries, he and Narla Venkateswara Rao exemplified the finest principles of journalism and strode the stage of Telugu newspapers like titans”, he observed.
The Vice President said that he had few occasions to interact with Shri Gora Sastri, whose vision was deeply imbued with the spirit of nationalism. His wit and humour, breadth of knowledge of both Telugu and English literary works, and his unwavering adherence to independent journalistic standards, set him apart from the common run of journalism, Naidu reminisced. The Vice President also wanted journalism courses to include lessons on the lives of great journalists.