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Media cannot be a judge, say politicians

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi feel the media should not play the role of a judge, as it can hurt a person's image.

"We don't have any problem with the truth. But if you (media) create something and want us to believe that a snake is a rope because that's your breaking story, then we have a problem," Trivedi said at a panel discussion at the Kolkata Literary Meet.

While Abdullah said, "I don't have a problem with the media playing the role of a prosecutor. It can ask uneasy questions, it can do investigative stories. I have a problem with the media playing the role of a judge. It should not pronounce a judgment that a man is guilty."

He said trial by the media was a problem because the trial leads to a judgement. Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai countered Trivedi and Abdullah, saying the media was accountable to its viewers and readers. He pointed out the instances of the Jessica Lal and Nitish Katara cases where justice was delivered after an extensive media campaign seeking justice.

But Sardesai conceded that the media should not play the role of a judge. Abdullah also called for some amount of self-regulation in the social media where people in public life were subjected to all kinds of abuse by anonymous people. The maiden edition of KLM is being held as part of the 36th Kolkata Book Fair.

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