Freedom of expression ‘not absolute’: Naidu

New Delhi: Freedom of expression was “not absolute” and comes with reasonable restrictions, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu said on Thursday.

Addressing the faculty, students and others at the inauguration of the Delhi School of Journalism in Delhi University, Naidu said journalism has its peculiarities and as a vocation, it is not like any other.

“Journalism has to mirror the society. It is a unique vocation. It is a vocation to serve the society. It is the fourth pillar of our Constitution and the watchdog of democracy,” said Naidu, who is also the Chancellor of Delhi University.

He, however, stressed that freedom of expression was “not absolute” and comes with reasonable restrictions which a journalist must respect. He also marked as a duty of a journalist to do what “is in the national interest” and “creates social harmony”.

Advising the young students against the vices of sensationalism and paid news evident in the profession, he said: “Sensationalism rules the roost now. It should never prevail over truth.

“What is advertisement, advertorial, an editortial, it is hard to tell now… One should never compromise on the core values of journalism of objectivity, of being unbiased, artistic, rational and strong.”

Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi, Pro Vice Chancellor J.M. Khurana, and member of DSJ Advisory Council and former editor of Hindi daily Jansatta Ram Bahadur Rai were present at the event.

A session is already underway at the DSJ, which was formed in August to offer the university’s first ever five-year integrated Masters course in journalism.