Vice president asks Urdu media to focus on today’s issues

December 30th, 2011 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Dec 30 (IANS) India’s Vice President Hamid Ansari Friday called upon Urdu newspapers to mould taste and cajole their readership in the direction of contemporary issues.

Inaugurating the World Urdu Editors Conference here, he advised the newspapers to go beyond catering only to the older age groups and focusing on older and familiar grievances. He asked them not to play down the stories which may be of particular interest to the youths.

Ansari noted that despite the overall increase in population, the percentage of Urdu speakers to total population has registered a noticeable decline.

Speaking in Urdu, the vice president said the problems confronting the Urdu print media include many of a unique nature with a disturbing dimension.

Noting that the demarcation between journalism, public relations, advertising and entertainment has been eroded because of the new media devices available and the commercial considerations involved, Ansari called for developing methodologies of retaining the essence of these attributes in the new surroundings of the newspapers.

“Other problems of Urdu media relate to resources, advertisements, news gathering methodology and adaptation of new technology,” he said.

“A good newspaper should cater both to public demand and to the need to shape this demand. Only then would it be in a position of opinion-maker. News coverage needs to move away from the purely sectional interests to what would satisfy a wider audience,” he said.

Referring to Urdu journalism’s role in India’s freedom struggle, he said those familiar with the history of freedom struggle recall with pride the May 17, 1857, issue of Maulvi Mohammad Baqar’s newspaper “Delhi Urdu Akhbar” that came to be known as the “Inquilab” edition.

Ansari pointed out that the end of British rule and the partition had an unwelcome consequence for Urdu journalism.

Eminent Pakistani journalist Tariq Mahmood Shaam stressed the need for investigative journalism in Urdu to solve people’s problems.

The head of editorial board at ARY Network said though Urdu was the official language of Pakistan, more efforts were being made for promotion of the language in India than in his country.

Urdu was supposed to become the language of Pakistan’s official machinery in 1988 but it is yet to happen and the new date set for this purpose is March 23, 2012, he noted.

“There are certain villages in Pakistan where Urdu is banned but the language is developing despite this chauvinism. Urdu is the language which links people speaking various languages like Sindhi and Punjabi,” Shaam said.

According to him, there are 2,000 Urdu dailies in Pakistan. “There are also over 60 television channels in Urdu. Even Dawn had to launch a channel in Urdu. But the tragedy is that the organizations using Urdu are becoming richer but the Urdu language is becoming poorer.”

Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan advised Urdu newspapers to avoid sensationalism and formulate their own code of conduct. He said the newspapers were still relevant and had a greater responsibility of building a society.

Zahid Ali Khan, editor of “Siasat”, mooted the idea of a consortium of Urdu newspapers in India to create a common news pool. He said “Siasat” is ready to provide the news in Urdu for all Urdu newspapers.

“This would save time and energy of the newspapers in translating the news into Urdu and they can use it for financially strengthening themselves,” he said.

Khan also announced insurance policy of Rs.100,000 for each of the Urdu journalists who would be part of the proposed consortium. “Siasat” would be paying premium for the insurance.

Over 40 editors and eminent Urdu journalists from India, Pakistan, Canada, Britain and the United Arab Emirates are attending the two-day conference, organised by “Siasat”.

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