Monday, May 26, 2008

Governor pleads media role within a ‘Lakshman Rekha’

Mr. Sudarshan Agarwal, Governor of Sikkim, recalled that Edmund Burke, one of the foremost political thinkers of 18th Century England, attributed the coinage ‘Fourth Estate’ to journalism (press).
He said ‘you can hold the other three – legislature, executive and judiciary – accountable’. Quoting Oscar Wilde, an eminent 19th Century British writer, he said, ‘collect facts first, distort later’.
Recalling his personal experience of setting up a school for the downtrodden in Uttarakhand as Governor there, and a distorted report thereof by a national daily, Mr. Agarwal said, ‘I have been a victim of media distortion’. Referring Press Council of India observation he said, ‘media should work within a Lakshman Rekha to be drawn by themselves’ and advised not to take ‘liberty as licence’.
The Governor was speaking as chief guest at ‘Ram Patro Memorial Award’ function held by Sikkim Express, a local English Daily, at Mangla Manson here on May 24, commemorating anniversary of the newspaper becoming a daily from a weekly. Mrs. Mala Rana Patro, publisher of Sikkim Express and Himali Bela (Nepali), received the chief guest with khada. Those present included Mr. C. D. Rai, president Press Club of Sikkim and chairman of the award committee, other members of the committee, Mr. J. B. Pradhan, an Ex-MLA and a former minister, Mr. Amit Patro, editor, Sikkim Express, guests and journalists, including Mr. Sagar Chettri, reporter, Sikkim Now, and Miss Yishey Doma, copy editor, Sikkim Express, selected for the award.
The Governor warmly congratulated the two young journalists while giving them the award for 2007-08, comprising of felicitation, memento and Rs. 5000 in cash. He also congratulated Mrs. Patro and her son for instituting the award (since 2005). “It is a befitting tribute from a son to his father”, the Governor observed.
In his address, the Governor rued saying ‘basic ethics are being compromised by the media for commerce and competition’. He said ‘it is media’s responsibility to the society to provide facts’, while stressing on ‘truthfulness, integrity and objectivity’ in reporting. He called upon media to ‘expose corruption wherever you find it’.
Speaking on the occasion, the award committee chairman Mr. Rai noted that Ram Patro Memorial Award is the first of its kind for journalists of Sikkim. He lauded the endeavour of the publisher and her son to take forward the two publications founded by Late Ram Patro, whom he called ‘a pioneer in promoting journalism in Sikkim’.