Journalists not only messengers under threat: Piyush Goyal

In the backdrop of complaints of attacks on media persons, Union Minister Piyush Goyal has said journalists are not the only messengers who are being targeted and the time has come for all stakeholders to reflect on their roles.

Goyal was addressing a gathering at the RedInk Awards organised by Mumbai Press Club at NCPA here last night after a panel discussion on "Who Shot the Messengers" to deliberate on the state of news persons in the country.

"Journalists alone are not the messengers, who are being shot. It's not as if one section of the society is pitted against journalists or journalism," Goyal said.

"I think all of us will have to reflect on overall standards of the society, which is reflected on politics, journalism and public work of the day. After all, it will be an influence of the entire society that will be reflected in whatever one reads in the paper or writes in the papers, magazines or 24/7 breaking news TV news channels.

"It is possibly time for all of us, the stakeholders in the system, to sit and reassess our positions and our roles," he said.

The Union minister also called for accuracy of data before it gets printed or reported on television.

"Instead of looking at 24/7 breaking news or sensationalizing each issue, one could look at the far greater degree of responsive journalism in terms of correct data, in terms of data being sanitized and corrected.

"This will truly help us in engaging with people in public life, engaging the government and giving confidence to the public at large," Goyal said. He said a viable option should be worked out for the online news media so that "economic interests" do not come in the way of unbiased news.

"Not just online media, be it newspapers or magazines, a lot of linkage to reporting and economic interests have been discussed and talked about. And its unfortunate. The kind of unbiased reporting that truly is the power of journalism is probably something that we miss these days. It would be great to have that streak of journalism back in the market," he said.

Participating in the panel discussion, NDTV's Ravish Kumar, who bagged 'Journalist of the Year' award, alleged that the attacks on journalists were "politically organised".

"These people are consistently defaming you (journalists) in a very organised manner and are attacking you in a way. I called it organised because to some extent everyone is doing it. But those with the government certainly have more power. If we go on accepting this, it would do a great damage to our profession as well as political culture," he said.

Late journalist Jagendra Singh was posthumously honoured with RedInk 'Veer Patrakar' Puraskar.

Twenty-four more journalists were honoured for their contribution to the field of journalism.

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