New Delhi: Censorship by government is “impossible” and there is a need for the media to report news “sensitively and responsibly”, Information and Broadcasting minister Arun Jaitley has said.
Speaking at the first Justice JS Verma memorial lecture on “Freedom and responsibility of media” in Delhi, Mr Jaitley said, “The days of threats and bans are over… The challenges are from within. It is a challenge of quality. Media today has a responsibilty to be credible, fair and be an educator on sensitive issues.”
In this context, he also mentioned the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices in France, saying what happened had to be “condemned by one and all”.
“A humour magazine is supposed to make fun of people. If they are going to be slaughtered, then free speech is going to be adversely affected,” he said.
Talking about the instances where restraint should be exercised, Mr Jaitley said the privacy of individuals, even in high profile cases, should be one. “The media must introspect on how much they want to report on such cases,” he said.
The power of audio-visual medium is far stronger, since it is capable of generating public opinion, Mr Jaitley said. The right of speech today extends not merely the right to report, but horizons have been widened, he said.
“Traditionally we were upset if the media said something wrong. Today we don’t bother. Our counter points are posted on social media,” he said. “Unlike television, which has a momentary impact, digital media leaves a permanent impact.”