Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh Hooda today said that we are experiencing new challenges, partly because of the impact of globalization and partly because of an unprecedented explosion of information technology. At times, he added, “I have a feeling that we as a nation have not prepared ourselves to deal with these developments”. The Chief Minister was speaking at the launch of the Chandigarh Edition of The Sunday Guardian, edited by noted journalist Mr M.J.Akbar, here today. Mr Hooda questioned, “Where is this cynicism leading us to? How long can we afford to ignore the signals? Let us look at some of the more pronounced manifestations like attempts being made to privatize the public space;Public debate is being hijacked by vested interests; The idiom of public discourse is being vulgarized;Difference between the sublime and the ridiculous seems to have disappeared;An all pervasive distress has come to question the very relevance of public institutions and this trust deficit is widening by the day;The self-appointed crusaders refuse to subject themselves to any discipline or accountability”. Mr Hooda pointed out that we are passing through extremely difficult times. World over, we are witnessing unprecedented upheavals on economic and political fronts. Societies are seeking an escape from all types of bondage. This newfound anxiety to seek freedom and liberty is manifesting itself in several types of struggles. And, all such movements are not always palatable. Mr Hooda said that there were several other connected issues which call for a sagacious response from all the organs of our republic. All of us, including the media, need to adopt a corrective, constructive and non-partisan approach to deal with these challenges. All of us as the stakeholders in our democracy need to engage ourselves in the task of nation building. We have to forge an intellectually sound and politically productive partnership to defeat the designs of mischief mongers and unscrupulous elements. While congratulating Mr M.J. Akbar and his colleagues for bringing out Chandigarh Edition of the Sunday Guardian, Mr Hooda said that he has no doubt in his mind that a reputed newspaper like the Sunday Guardian would come forward for this noble cause and help create an environment which would be conducive for the growth and prosperity of this great nation. He said that Mr M.J. Akbar had launched the Sunday Guardian, in Delhi, in January, 2010. It is indeed a matter of proud for the citizens of Chandigarh that now this newspaper will be available for them as well. “I heartily welcome this initiative”, he added.
Mr Hooda said that in today’s competitive world it is not easy to sustain a newspaper and, at the same time, maintain the quality. The owners and publishers, and indeed everyone else associated with the Sunday Guardian can be justly proud of its standing in the society. “My compliments to all of you” added Mr Hooda. He said that existence of free press is a prerequisite of a vibrant democracy. He said that he firmly believed that the best guarantee of media’s freedom was its objectivity and accuracy. He said,but he knew that maintaining objectivity and accuracy was easier said than done. “Today’s highly competitive media environment poses daunting challenges to the owners as well as professionals of this industry. However, all of us would like the press to be an independent institution which is not subservient to other interests”, added Mr Hooda. The Chief Minister said that if information as a product is tailored to suit market forces only it would seriously undermine the freedom of press. Such a trend is neither conducive to build a healthy democracy nor does it help in empowering the masses. “Therefore, the biggest challenge for a newspaper, in my view, is to make it commercially viable and yet maintain its role as a medium of nation building. I know that nation building as a phrase sounds rather hackneyed. But I am deliberately using it in order to focus on today’s environment of cynicism and negativity”, he added.
Haryana Governor, Mr Jagannath Pahadia also congratulated the Editor of The Sunday Guardian and his team on the launch of the newspaper.Punjab Chief Minister Mr Prakash Singh Badal urged the media to work for national integration and communal harmony. Punjab Governor and Administrator of Chandigarh Administration, Mr Shivraj V.Patil hoped that the Sunday Guardian would prove a light house for the society and the Government. The Editor,Mr M.J.Akbar described Chandigarh as an emerging media hub and said that Mr Kartikay Sharma has brought this newspaper here. Earlier the Managing Director, Mr Kartikay Sharma welcomed the distinguished guests. Many prominent personalities of the region were present on the occasion.