Bengaluru : The internet and social media have democratised journalism and revitalised democracy, said President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday, while noting that it also led to many anxieties in the present context.
Addressing the fourth edition of ‘The Huddle’ – an annual thought conclave of The Hindu here – the President said that only the traditional media has over the years developed skills to authenticate a news report and it will have to introspect on its role in the society and find ways to earn reader’s full trust again.
The President said that debate and discussion were internalised in India’s social psyche to arrive at truth since time immemorial.
He said information technology was playing the biggest role in shaping the world and had impacted journalism in all its aspects.
“It is so rapidly evolving that what was outright unimaginable only a few years ago has not only become a reality but has even lost its novelty! These trends have impacted journalism in all its aspects, from newsgathering to delivering news to readers and finally making money to sustain the activity,” he said.
“The internet and social media have democratised journalism and revitalised democracy. This process is ongoing, but in its current stage, it has also led to many anxieties. The new media is fast and popular and people can choose what they want to watch, hear or read,” he said.
“But only the traditional media has, over years, developed skills to authenticate a news report, and that is a costly operation. I hope that we will arrive at the ideal trade-off soon. The traditional media will have to introspect on its role in society and find ways to earn the reader’s full trust again,” he added.
The President said that the project of democracy is incomplete without informed citizens, which means without unbiased journalism.
Referring to the ‘The Huddle’, the title of the event, he said that long before the West discovered the benefits of democratic decision-making, Sant Basaveshwara, a 12th-century philosopher endowed with extraordinary wisdom, had promoted a culture of collective discussion which was called ‘Anubhav Mantapa’.
“This is remembered as one of the world’s first parliaments where people were encouraged to speak their mind irrespective of their social status. This was also a unique experiment of gender equality as women were also encouraged to take part in discussions and express their views,” he said.
The President said India is blessed to have sages like Basaveshwara. (ANI)