Pranab Mukherjee to foreign media: Go around, see things for yourself to present picture of India


Team Udayavani, Aug 29, 2019, 9:45 AM IST

New Delhi: Former president Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday advised the foreign media to present a picture of India that comes to them after going around, meeting people and seeing things for themselves.

Addressing an event to confer Kalinga-FCC awards on foreign correspondents, he said the role of the media as a watchdog in the democracy should not only be to highlight the “doom and dark” but also to bring positive changes in the society.

“I will request you and encourage you to go around our region, meet people, see things yourself and present a picture of India which comes through you to the whole world,” said Mukherjee.

He also said in its inherent role as a watchdog of the democracy, the media draws attention to what is wrong.

“But doom and dark alone should not dominate the news coverage. A constant effort must be made to highlight the positive and the change for the better,” he added.

Mukherjee gave the awards to media professionals who did their reporting on India and South Asia for global media.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) of South Asia has more than 700 journalists – most of them working for foreign media organisations – as its members.

In his speech, the former president said the media, being the fourth pillar of the democracy, is vested with extreme power as it seeks to hold other three pillars – executive, judiciary and legislature – accountable.

“Media is the mediator between the public and public servants,” he added.

“It has the power to shape the public opinion. It has the power to give forum to downtrodden and dispossessed. It has the power to ensure social justice and equality. It has the power to be the eyes and ears of the people but it should also ensure that this power is not misused,” he noted.

The power of the media should be used to engage in a nationwide endeavour to reset our moral compass, he said.

As the media landscape undergoes major changes, it has its own different role of facilitator and protector of democratic institutions and processes, Mukherjee added.

“Media as a whole not only keeps people informed but also performs a very crucial function of presenting ideas and alternatives in the domain of policy formulation and implementation,” he said.

His comments comes in the backdrop of debate over media coverage on Kashmir, where restrictions on movement and communication have been imposed after abrogation of provisions of Article 370. Mukherjee, however, made no mention of it in his speech.

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