New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind addressed the fourth edition of ‘The Huddle’ annual thought conclave in Bengaluru today. Speaking on the occasion, Kovind said he was happy to attend ‘The Huddle’ organised by news outlet The Hindu, a name that “connotes not only India’s cultural diversity but also covers a sweep of history which is unparalleled in the world in the civilisational context.” He said the Hindu group of publications has been relentlessly aiming to capture the essence of the country through its responsible and ethical journalism. He commended them for their insistence on sticking to the five basic principles of journalism – truth-telling, freedom & independence, justice, humaneness, and contributing to the social good.
The President said that debate and discussion are internalised in India’s social psyche to arrive at truth since time immemorial, adding that there is no doubt that perception of truth is conditioned by circumstances. The conditions that cloud the truth’s positions are effectively dispelled by a contestation of ideas through debate, discussion, and scientific temper., Kovind remarked, adding that prejudices and violence vitiate the search for truth.
The President said that, sometimes, dogmas and personal prejudices distort the truth. In the 150th year of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, let people ponder upon the question of whether it will be proper to pursue truth itself as the ideology, Kovind urged, adding that Gandhi has shown the path by walking in search of truth which would ultimately encompass every positive attribute that enriches the universe.
The President said the internet and social media have democratized journalism and revitalized democracy, adding that 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, Kovind observed, adding that, however, only traditional media has, over the years, developed skills to authenticate a news report, and that is a costly operation.
Kovind expressed hope for arrival at the ideal trade-off soon. He said that in the meanwhile, the traditional media would have to introspect on its role in society and find ways to earn the reader’s full trust again, adding that the project of democracy is incomplete without informed citizens, which means without unbiased journalism.
Watch President Kovind’s address at the Conclave:
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