Mysore/Mysuru: Maintaining that regional newspapers are playing a very effective role in reporting, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said that regional newspapers also have their own identity and features.
He was speaking after inaugurating ‘Andolana-50 Sarthaka Payana,’ the 50th anniversary of ‘Andolana’ Kannada Daily at the KSOU Convocation Hall in Muktagangothri here yesterday.
Pointing out that newapapers too have been part of the freedom struggle, Bommai said there is a lot of difference between the pre-independence days and the current period. Noting that businessman Ramnath Goenka established Indian Express Group of newspaper and strongly opposed the emergency declared by the then Prime Minister India Gandhi, he said that it was Indian Express which staged an unique protest against Emergency by leaving the front page vacant.
Observing that times have changed with the advent of globalisation, privatisation and liberalisation, Bommai said that mankind should march forward in keeping with the times while also maintaining compassion.
Noting that the farming community is facing challenges, Bommai opined that the children of farmers should also excel in academics and grow up in the field of their choice. Stating that newspapers are undergoing changes and are keeping pace with technology, he said youths are key for the success of a newspaper in the present times.
Continuing, the CM said that though a few politicians started to run newspapers, they had failed in their endeavour. Citing the example of former Chief Minister late Veerendra Patil who had started ‘Lokavani’ newspaper, which stopped publication just a few months after its launch, he said that similar was the case of former CM late R. Gundu Rao who started an English newspaper.
Observing that these examples goes to show that politicians and newspapers cannot go along together, he said that, however, politicians are becoming entrepreneurs and values too keep changing with the times.
‘Hattrick Hero’ Dr. Shivarajkumar, activist P. Mallesh, ‘Andolana’ Associate Editor Nirmala Koti and others were present.
‘Media has now become a form of entertainment’
Senior Journalist P. Sainath who delivered the keynote address, said that the media is gradually turning out into an entertainment industry.
“The media industry is all set to achieve a 2.32 Trillion Dollar turnover in a couple of years (2024).As most of the media houses are under Corporate control, their sole aim is reaping profits. There are two types of Journalists — One who writes news and stories, the other acts as a typist or Stenographer. It is regretful to note that the media has come under the control of capitalists. Industrialist Ambani owns a couple of media houses and he does not understand the importance of farmer movement. Instead, Ambani’s income is higher than that of Punjab’s GDP. Similar is the case with another Industrialist Gautam Adani, whose earnings is higher than that of Haryana’s GDP,” Sainath argued.
‘Newspapers should become the voice of downtrodden and marginalised sections’
Opposition Leader and former Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, in his address, said that newspapers should become the voice of the downtrodden, depressed, deprived and marginalised sections of the society.
Recalling that newspapers were and are part of the freedom movement and other struggles, the former CM said that an equal society cannot come into existence without eliminating inequality. Observing that the media is not functioning up to the mark, Siddharamaiah expressed disappointment that the media is getting carried away by excitement, focusing more on breaking news, personal matters etc., without giving much prominence to facts.
Contending that focusing on superstitious practices will not help the society, he cited his own example saying that he visited Chamarajanagar a dozen times in order to break the jinx that is attached with Chamarajanagar. He also told the CM in a lighter vein that he (Bommai) too had visited Chamarajanagar once.
Recalling that a crow sat atop his official car parked in Vidhana Soudha when he was the Chief Minister, Siddharamaiah said that the matter became so big in TV news channels that the matter was discussed and debated all throughout the day on its fallout.
Asserting that he continued to be the CM even two years after the crow incident, the former CM highlighted the responsibility of newspapers in presenting factual news to the readers.