Weeks after NDTV India ban, PM says nobody should impair freedom of press
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke strongly for press freedom, but also cautioned the media against “unrestrained criticism of government,” emphasizing that freedom of expression should be maintained.
He was speaking at the commemoration event of the National Press Day at Vigyan Bhawan, where he said that “external control” on the press is not good for society. “Freedom… freedom of expression needs to be followed, but there must be limits. Like a mother who tells her children not to eat too much,”he said. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi as saying “unrestrained writing can create a huge crisis.”
He said that government should not interfere in the working of the media but added that it is the responsibility of the press to change appropriately with time. He also said that earlier journalists thought a lot before filing a report but believes that challenges today are different. According to him, Press is “instrumental in upholding free speech” and believes control of press from external sources isn’t good for the society.
In reference to the Emergency period, he said that everyone remembers how the press council ceased to exist during that period of time and the press was silent. Things were normalised after Morarji Bhai (Morarji Desai) became the PM, he said. On this occasion, he also said that he has been friends with journalists for long and believes that they just need 10 per cent of the information, and find out the rest. But claimed that with such steps, government also becomes used to of selective leaking.
He expressed his grief on the reports of deaths of the journalists on the occasion and called it “serious”. Any death is worrisome but journalists losing their lives because they were trying to show the truth is even more serious, he said.
He appreacated media contribution to the society, and also congratulated the role of media for its role during the Nepal earthquake for uniting the nation into helping its neighbour. He also lauded media for supporting the cleaning drive by spreading the message of cleanliness among common people.