• Chandigarh, November 16: “Biggest challenges before the media is to protect its freedom, strengthen its credibility, and look at the positive news,” said Ashok Malik, President of the National Union of Journalists (India), on the occasion of the National Press Day.

The true test of a robust and healthy democracy is independence of its media which must be respected, Ashok Malik said.

But freedom also entails tremendous responsibility on the part of the media itself to maintain complete dignity of the profession through ethical practice, he added.

The Chandigarh Journalists Association (CJA), Citizens Awareness Group (CAG) and Chandigarh Chapter of Public Relations Council of India (PRCI) participated in the National Press Day discussions.

National Vice President of PRCI Charanjit Singh pointed out the emergence of free online media and unbridled sharing of information which is leading to emergence of fake news and misleading information, which is having far reaching repercussions on the society, leading to social strife.

He emphasized the need for all communicators to retain the sanctity of the information and media must also upgrade its skills to sift real and truthful news from rumours for which PRCI, he said, organizes special workshops for the media.

CJA General Secretary Jawant Rana lamented growing attack on the media and expressed need to have special arrangements with security agencies for their protection.

Ashok Malik announced that very soon a Media Helpline for this purpose is being launched by the NUJ (I) for immediate reporting and intervention, besides NUJ (I) is working to arrange safety training for media personnel to protect themselves.

Ashok Malik said that reporting of positive news to engage with the community and other individuals and NGOs doing good work for the upliftment of the society is also on the radar of National Union of Journalists, and is preparing guidelines for the media to follow. As part of Media Social Responsibility each journalist can promise to herself/himself to remain on lookout for positive stories to give confidence to the society and inspire others to overcome their challenges. The target for each journalists should be One Positive Report A Day.

He pointed out that India ranks 136 among 180 countries in the index compiled by an organization, Reporters Without Borders, which reflects sadly on the state of affairs, lack of professionalism, and growing political interference. Indian media consists of over 400 TV news channels and thousands of newspapers and magazines.

On this occasion an Investors Awareness Programme by SEBI was also conducted by CAG President Surinder Verma who advised them to be aware of their rights, responsibilities and risks involved while investing in financial and equity markes as also in mutual funds.