Media must be responsible: Ramesh, Aiyar

August 8th, 2010 - 4:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Mani Shankar Aiyar New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Urging the media to play the role of a responsible self-regulatory monitor to present the picture of real India, Rajya Sabha MP Mani Shankar Aiyar took a few digs at the Commonwealth Games while Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh warned against exaggerating the “image of India as a superpower”.
The two stormy petrels of the Congress shared the stage to address a seminar, “Indian Media in the 21st Century and India’s Image”, on the 75th birth anniversary of Rajendra Mathur, former editor of Nav Bharat Times at the Azad Bhavan in the capital Saturday.

The workshop was hosted by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Rajendra Mathur Smriti Samiti.

“The print media has seriousness of purpose but the electronic media lacks seriousness. They present 24X7 cycle of news that is counter-productive for us (the government),” Ramesh said.

“Government regulation or bureaucratic control is not the answer. The media should exercise self-control. With the ongoing debate over paid news, it is time for the media to introspect,” he added.

Ramesh was in the news recently for speaking against his own party, nearly costing him the ministerial berth.

Aiyar said: “In a globalised India, the English media feels prosperous and wants to carry India forward. Nearly 100,000 foreign guests will come to India in less than two months (for the Commonwealth Games).”

“I hear that 70,000 have confirmed their bookings. Special arrangements are being made to ensure that they are not besieged by beggars and the poor, but interact with men attired only in coats and ties,” he said.

“On their way to the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium, they should not chance upon those begging for livelihood at the shrine of the Nizamuddin Auliya,” Aiyar said.

The economic imbalance is glaring, he said. The question is “whether Indians should be made prosperous or India made richer”, Aiyar said.

Pointing out an irony, he said: “The government had decided to waive Rs.70,000 crore as loan to families of 40 crore farmers. Nearly half the amount is being spent on the Games,” he said.

Nearly 158 districts across the country were affected by terrorism and insurgency in central India, Aiyar said. “Where will the money to address the problem come from?” he asked.

Ramesh said: “The biggest role that the media could play was to portray reality and not hide facts.”

He said for “India to become an exclusive force on the global platform, it must adopt an inclusive outlook within the country with its diversity of seven major religions, 18 major languages, 400 dialects and 4,000 communities,” Ramesh said.

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