Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said free media is the cornerstone of democracy and it can actually be a force multiplier to sustain democracy.
Delivering the first Atal Behari Vajpayee Memorial Lecture at Indian Institute of Mass Communication in New Delhi on Wednesday, Mr Naidu said media should play a pivotal role in spreading correct and credible information and the news and views should not be mixed.
The Vice President said, an unbiased media ensures that people are well informed and media should take care of facts and the opinion must be expressed without any fear.
Mr Naidu expressed concern over the menace of paid news saying the people should come and vote in large number in the Lok Sabha elections as voting is not just a right, it is about duty and people must perform their duty by casting their vote.
He said, Voting in every election needs to be made a habit and Media has an important role in promoting participatory democracy through enhanced voter turn out which in turn broad bases the foundation of democratic governance.
Mr Naidu said, if media can present report cards of parties in an objective manner and if people can demand accountability from political parties, India can boast of being not only the largest democracy but also one of the cleanest and most vibrant democracies of the world. He said, the tendency of media to add commentary to facts can be dangerous for Democracy.
Paying tributes to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Mr Naidu said, Vajpayeeji started his career as a journalist before he entered politics and he retained that rare ability to connect and communicate all through his life. He said, the traits will undoubtedly inspire young journalists.
Prasar Bharti Chairman Dr A Surya Prakash who presided over the event said that it is important for the media to be transparent and fair.