Affirming that print journalism has the maximum impact among readers, former President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday cautioned people about sharing information on social media, while underlining the importance of checking facts. Speaking at a media awards function here, Mukherjee said people should be careful while sharing information on the social media.
“Several social and communal tensions have traced their roots to rumours shared over social media by mischievous persons. Even people who innocently share such posts become party to the mischief,” the Bharat Ratna awardee said.
Asserting he has great confidence in print media, Mukherjee told the gathering of journalists that whenever he reads newspapers, he is assured the report has been edited and verified, which is not the case with social media posts.
“This is why we need to be extremely careful while sharing information on social media,” he said.
Mukherjee said, while medium of disseminating information has evolved — from scribbling notes to typewriters and now mobile phones — objectivity should not be compromised with.
“You (journalists) can be at liberty of expressing your views as an individual in the editorial, but please maintain objectivity in the news,” he said.
Mukherjee said journalists may look at news in different angles and perspectives but they should not mix their own views while presenting the facts.
Lauding media’s role in defending democratic ideas and the Constitution, Mukherjee said media as the “fourth pillar of democracy” holds other three pillars accountable to the people.
“With great power comes great responsibility,” the 83 -year-old statesman said. He termed Bengal as the “cradle of Indian journalism”, where first Indian newspaper ‘Hicky’s Bengal Gazette’ was published in 1780.
“Journalism played an exemplary role in our social renaissance and freedom struggle of the country,” Mukherjee said in the media awards function. PTI photojournalists Swapan Mahapatra and Ashok Bhaumik won the best photojournalist awards in feature and news categories respectively.
Tamaghna Banerjee (Times of India), Shyam Gopal Roy (Ei Samay) and Vishal Shreshtha (Dainik Jagran) are among the other journalists who won awards in general news category. Veteran journalist Manojit Mitra won the Sumit Sen Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award.