Media has to facilitate active discussions and debates on various issues of national importance : Prakash Javadekar
INVC, Delhi, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting has said that the success of Indian democracy owed much to the independent and responsible press which had played a crucial role in educating and empowering the masses. Journalists have acted like soldiers utilizing the weapons of pen and newspaper columns. The Minister stated this while delivering his address at a function to commemorate National Press Day organized by Press Council of India here today. During his address, Col. Rathore reiterated the Government’s commitment to protect, preserve and promote freedom of the press. The Minister called upon the journalists to maintain professional integrity and ethical standards in their pursuit of truth. In the function, the Minister also released a souvenir highlighting the role of Press Council of India in ensuring fair practices of journalism. Also speaking on the occasion, Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of State (IC) for Environment, Forests and Climate change said that freedom of the press was sacrosanct in a democracy and that this freedom came with responsibilities. Media has to facilitate active discussions and debates on various issues of national importance, the Minister added. Justice Venkatachaliah, former Chief Justice of India, who was the chief guest of the function, said that Press in India had a larger role to preserve, restore and propagate democratic and humanitarian values balancing them with changes in technology and perceptions of freedom. The function also witnessed the conferring of National Awards in different categories on print journalists for their outstanding contributions in various fields. The categories of awards included Rural Journalism, Developmental Reporting, Stree Shakti (Women Empowerment), Single News Picture, Photo Feature, and Urdu Journalism. Justice Markandey Katju, Chairman, Press Council of India and Smt. Vibha Bhargava, Secretary, Press Council of India were also present on the occasion. National Press Day marked the day of establishment of Press Council of India, PCI, as a statutory agency to ensure free and responsible press. This was the day on which the PCI started functioning as a moral watchdog to safeguard the independence of press in India.