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Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu today urged the media "not to add colour to news" and that their views should be restricted to editorial pages. Speaking at an award function organised by Assamese media group Pratidin-Sadin here, he noted that an ideal newspaper or news channel should be a reflection of society, societal problems and the aspirations of people of the region and the nation. "All news organisations must follow certain basic principles - do not sensationalise, do not combine news and views, there should be no paid news, and promote Indian culture and traditions," Naidu said. "Do not add colour to news. There is an editorial page where views can be expressed freely, but the sanctity of news should be maintained," he said. The vice president stated that media organisations should focus on development and to end terrorism as it has "no place in our culture and tradition". "There is no religion that supports terrorism and everybody is aware that a neighbouring country is aiding, abetting, funding and promoting terrorism in our country," he said. The media should also strongly bring forth any demographic changes and ensure that the 'Indianness' and the cultural identity of the country is not harmed, he said. Naidu also said that the current trend of news organisations was to focus on urban issues. "Even though there has been migration from rural areas, yet we have a predominant rural population whose problems need to be highlighted. "Agriculture is the mainstay of majority of our population and the media needs to focus on their problems and help in minimising the rural-urban divide," he noted. The country is governed by the three tier of Centre, state and the panchayat and local bodies, and their functioning - good or bad - should find a place in media coverage, he said. The vice president also urged the media to focus on promotion of mother tongue for communication. "There is nothing wrong in learning English, Hindi or any other Indian language or even any foreign language, but the mother tongue should be the medium of instruction from primary school level," he said. Media also has an important role to play in strengthening democracy by helping people elect their representatives on the basis of the candidates' "character, calibre, capacity and conduct" and not on the basis of caste, community or cash, Naidu said. The media should also conduct campaigns to promote Swach Bharat, Beti Padhao Beti Bachao etc as these are not for any political party, but for the people of the country, he said. The vice president presented the Pratidin Times Achievers' Award to 10 individuals and institutions, including the Lifetime Achievement Award to litterateur and folklorist Birendranath Dutta.
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