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Fake news has emerged as new menace, says President Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said that the fundamental principle of restraint and responsibility has been substantially undermined in media these days and fake news has emerged as a new menace.

He said that "breaking news syndrome" has consumed the media.

"In the days of the breaking news syndrome that has consumed the media now, this fundamental principle of restraint and responsibility has been undermined substantially," said President Kovind while addressing Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award ceremony here.

He said that "fake news has emerged a new menace", the "purveyors of which proclaim themselves as journalists" and taint this noble profession.

"I am aware that journalists tend to wear many hats in the line of their duty. These days, they often assume the role of an investigator, a prosecutor and a judge - all rolled into one," Kovind said.

"It requires a great deal of inner strength and incredible passion for journalists to play so many roles at a time to arrive at the truth. Their versatility is praiseworthy. But that prompts me to ask if such a sweeping exercise of power is accompanied by genuine accountability?" he added.

Kovind said that the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards honour those journalists who have maintained the highest standards of their profession and, despite immense challenges, produced work that sustains public trust in the media and impacts the lives of people.

"Ramnath Goenka Ji would never have allowed the situation to go adrift and initiated measures for course correction for the whole media fraternity. There is no doubt that journalism has been passing through a critical phase," he said.

The President also remembered Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, who he said was an "extraordinary journalist" who sacrificed his life to douse the flames of hatred during communal violence in Kanpur.

"The quest for truth is, of course, difficult and easier said than done. But it must be pursued. A democracy like ours deeply relies on the uncovering of facts and a willingness to debate them. Democracy is meaningful only when the citizen is well informed," Kovind said.

He also presented the awards to journalists in New Delhi and congratulated all the winners and urged them to never let go of their pursuit of truth.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mon, January 20 2020. 22:33 IST
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