KOLHAPUR: Preserving its credibility is the biggest challenge before the media, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today as he emphasized the importance of criticism in “purifying” democracy but deprecated the practice of levelling accusations.
“Democracy will come to a standstill if there is no criticism. Water is clean when flowing but dirty when still. Criticism is the best way to purify democracy,” Modi said addressing a gathering to mark the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Marathi newspaper ‘Pudhari’.
“Criticism should be glorified as it helps test truth and prevents from deviating to the wrong path. Media can do this service. Sadly, criticism doesn’t happen because of which people in government get ruined.
“It is democracy’s misfortune that there is little criticism and only accusations are levelled. Making accusations take us nowhere,” he said.
Modi said maintaining its credibility was the biggest challenge before the media in a democracy where communication was of great importance.
“Emergency saw repression of democracy due to hunger for personal power. Newspapers were locked down and the owners who raised their voices against it were jailed. Only what the government wanted got published. When people came to know of it, they stopped reading newspapers.
“After years of penance, media has achieved such credibility that the common man does not go by hearsay and trusts newspapers to tell him the truth. This credibility also places a great responsibility on them,” the Prime Minister said.
He said a number of newspapers maintained their credibility despite repression and ‘Pudhari’ was one of those.
Asking the media to take a pledge to “sharpen” criticism, the Prime Minister said while criticism required a lot of hard work, it was easy to level allegations. “The sharper the criticism, the better the governance,” he said.
“The advent of electronic media posed a big challenge before newspapers. When 24X7 channels started, the competition grew more intense. People want ‘sacche’ (true) news and now there is hunger for ‘achhe’ (good) news. Those who will understand this, their credibility will increase,” he said.
In a democratic set-up, Modi said, people were not prepared to believe what the government claimed and wanted to know the truth from some other source.
“This is the power of democracy where communication is of utmost importance,” he said.