Advocating for freedom of press, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said there should be no government interference in the functioning of media.
"Government should not do any interference. It is true that self-introspection is not easy... It is the responsibility of the PCI and those associated with the press to see to it that what appropriate changes you can make with time. Things do not change from external control," he said.
Speaking at the golden jubilee celebrations of Press Council of India (PCI), Modi also quoted Mahatma Gandhi to support his assertions seeking self-regulation by the media.
"Mahatma Gandhi had said uncontrolled writing can create huge problems but he had also said that external interference would wreak havoc. Controlling it (media) externally cannot be imagined," he asserted.
While expressing concern over eecent incidents of murder of jounalists, the PM advised self-regulation by making appropriate changes with times, asserting that things will not change from external control. His remarks came against the backdrop of murder of two journalists in Bihar.
Union information and broadcasting minister M Venkaiah Naidu echoed PM’s view saying the Centre is in favour of self-regulation and not thinking of imposing restrictions on the media, while news organisations should exercise "necessary self-restraint and avoid sensationalism".
"When freedom is not exercised judiciously, our existing laws provide for necessary intervention and course correction. The government is not thinking of any restriction on any medium, but it expects all the stakeholders to be responsible in using different platforms," Naidu said.
He said news and views "should not be mixed" and added that the media should be "nearer to the truth" and should avoid sensationalism.
"My advice applies more to the electronic media than the print media," the Union minister pointed out. "Sensationalism, yellow journalism, TRP-generating news versus factual news cannot earn the confidence of the consumer," Naidu added.
The Union minister also said the "prevalence of paid news" was "bringing a bad name" to the media. Naidu, however, mentioned that journalists from different generations had set a very high standard over the years. He also termed the Emergency imposed in the 70s as a "dark chapter in our democracy".