Journalism is not just a profession, but a "mission" and it is time for the media to "introspect" as to whether it is helping or undermining the cherished values of democracy, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman P J Kurien today said. "Media has a great influence on people, both positive and negative. In fact, their impact is so great that they should ponder and introspect the role they play as the fourth pillar of democracy. "Journalism is not just a job or a profession, it is a mission and a vocation. They represent the lofty and cherished ideals of our society... Is media today helping or undermining democracy," he asked. Kurien was addressing a gathering at a media award function this evening. He also raised concerns over "only sensational stories" making headlines while several good stories "not finding space in print, electronic or digital media." "The media creates impression about anything or anyone among people. Today, whenever people think of politicians, they think they are corrupt... Our jurisprudence says a person is assumed innocent until proven guilty.
But, media just reverses that," he said. "Besides, on television and newspapers today, we see people are being tempted to eat dangerous (junk) food. Where are the lofty ideals now," he asked. NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said, "Electronic media today creates frenzy and has lost balance in its reportage and perspective." "It has become a place of over-heated discussions and is obsessed with TRPs. At times, it creates a 'war' even if there is no 'war'. It is time for it to sit back and relax in an old-fashioned way," he said. Veteran journalist Kuldeep Nayyar, who was present on the occasion, lamented the "decline" in "values of journalism." "For journalists, it has become a job all the time. All they are worried about is when would their next contract be renewed. Real journalism has died," Nayyar, now 93, said. President's Press Secretary Venu Rajamony said while it is important for media to "point out the deficiency in different sectors, it must also highlight the achievements in those fields, like health care." "The government is committed to improving the scenario in the health sector, but we need more cross-sector coordination, both nationally and regionally, to achieve maximum results... More jounalists should take up the profession for bringing about a social change, whether it is in the health sector or other fields," Union Health Minister J P Nadda said in a video message.