India

Media must confine itself to honest journalism: CJI

New Delhi, July 28 (KMS): Chief Justice of India (CJI), Justice N.V. Ramana, has observed that independent journalism is the backbone of democracy and the media must confine itself to honest journalism without using it as a tool to expand its influence and business interests.

Speaking at the release of the book “The Geeta Vijnana Upanishad” authored by Gulab Kothari, he said, “When a media house has other business interests, it becomes vulnerable to external pressures. Often, the business interests prevail over the spirit of independent journalism. As a result, democracy gets compromised.”

These remarks by Justice Ramana assume significance following the backlash to a verdict earlier this month on former BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s comments on Prophet Mohammad (SAW) which the Supreme Court said had stoked communal tension across India.

“Journalists are the eyes and the ears of the people. It is the responsibility of media houses to present facts. Especially in the Indian social scenario, people still believe that whatever is printed is true. All I want to say is that the media must confine itself to honest journalism without using it as a tool to expand its influence and business interests,” he said.

The CJI stressed that independent journalism is the backbone of democracy and journalists are the eyes and the ears of the people. “It is the responsibility of media houses to present facts. Especially in the Indian social scenario, people still believe that whatever is printed is true. All I want to say is that the media must confine itself to honest journalism without using it as a tool to expand its influence and business interests,” he added.

The CJI, who had been a journalist for some time before entering the legal profession, said that a brilliant story filed by a journalist, which he/she had filed after taking risks and putting in a lot of hard work and energy, is killed at the desk. “It is thoroughly demoralising for a genuine journalist. You cannot blame him or her, if they encounter such situations repeatedly and lose faith in the profession,” he said.

On July 23, Justice Ramana hit out at electronic and social media ‘trials’, saying that media run ‘kangaroo courts’ at times on issues and even experienced judges find it difficult to decide. “New media tools have the enormous amplifying ability but appear to be incapable of distinguishing between the right and the wrong, the good and the bad and the real and the fake. Media trials cannot be a guiding factor in deciding cases,” he said in the speech.

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