NEW DELHI: Deputy Chairman in the Rajya Sabha PJ Kurien on Thursday advised the Media to adhere to “true” reporting and should be responsible and honest.
“...Media is the fourth pillar of our democracy. They should be responsible...What is responsibility? There should be honest reporting....if something happens and it is exaggerated and published, it is dishonest. Likewise, if a news is blacked out, it is also dishonest reporting. Therefore, for the sake of democracy, it is expected that true reporting should be adhered to by the Media,” Kurien said.
Kurien’s comments came when a number of MPs raised the issue that Media is raising only negative issues like members protesting inside the House but constructive debates are not covered by the big Media houses.
Raising the issue when the House convened on Thursday, Samajwadi Party MP Naresh Agarwal said the country expects that what transpires in the House is truthfully reported.
But only the “nuisance” that the MPs create by rushing into the Well or shouting slogans gets reported, he said.
As was stated by Sharad Yadav (JD-U) in the debate on Wednesday, bigger newspapers did not publish a word on the suggestions on electoral reforms, he said asking the Chair to give a direction to the Media.
"You cannot scold but can give direction that whatever positive discussions happen should be reported and not just negativities," Agarwal said.
Yadav said the debate on the issues got "buried within the four walls of the House". He further said that the Media freedom has now become the freedom of individual owners and not journalists.
Yadav said law should be brought to bar cross ownership by not allowing Media owners to venture into other businesses.
Congress leader Anand Sharma said the Media played an important role in democracy in sensitising public opinion and ensuring balance of narrative on important public issues. But the views of the opposition, which matter a lot, irrespective of its size and strength, must get adequate space in the media, he said.
MPs also took umbrage over Supreme Court reported remarks on 80 per cent of the Parliamentarians being crorepatis (millionaires).
To this, Finance Minister Arun Jaitle said Parliament alone has the authority to approve how public money is to be spent and it alone can legislate on how much pension MPs can draw.
"It is an unquestionably clear Constitutional position that public money can be spent only after authorisation of Parliament. Therefore, Parliament only can authorise how public money can be spent. No other institution can exercise that power," he said, adding this is the Constitutional position "which all institution will have to eventually accept."