Freedom of press should be used in country’s interests: Naidu

Hyderabad: With opposition and media slamming action against NDTV India, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the NDA government is committed to freedom of press but media should use it keeping in mind the interests of the nation and the people.

The Union Information and Broadcasting Minister also said the well-being of the country and society should be kept in mind before broadcasting or publishing any news, and stressed that news and views should not be mixed.

“A big discussion is going on in the country that there should be freedom of press. It should compulsorily be there and the government is committed to this. But, there is a need to think. We are citizens first and then the journalists. That’s my view,” he said.

“Our government believes in freedom of press and wants the media to truly appreciate the value of such freedom so that it is best used in the interest of the country and the people,” Naidu said addressing a programme for Urdu journalists here.

He said while giving/broadcasting news, oen should keep in mind the interests of society and nation first.

“The news you are giving should not promote clashes between groups, religions or create unrest in society. The news should not cause harm to the nation’s interests. There should be self-restraint (in following rules),” Naidu said.

Journalists should remember that freedom of expression is best utilised only when the value of such freedom is fully appreciated, he said, adding that when this freedom is not exercised judiciously, our existing laws provide for necessary interventions.

He advised that journalists must always look for information, but must run the news only after confirmation.

“Be nearer to truth and keep away from sensationalism. But what is happening in the electronic media is sensationalism,” he said.

Stating that there are some regulations that media should not preach, something which is anti-national; not propagate against the interest of the country aspects like obscenity, vulgarity, encouraging violence, Venkaiah asked electronic media and cinema should seriously think about how to avoid vulgarity, obscenity and violence.

He said, “The important thing in media is credibility… which is very important…But now credibility is missing in most of the media, which is unfortunate. We must always work for credibility.”