New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the government should not interfere with the working of the media. He was addressing the Press Council of India (PCI) on the occasion of National Press Day, which also marked PCI’s 50th anniversary.
“In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, unruly writing can create a big problem. But Gandhi also said that external forces and regulation can cause destruction. Therefore, the thought of external regulation will not work in a progressive society. Freedom of speech and expression is paramount,” Modi said.
The Prime Minister also expressed concern over the recent killings of journalists in some parts of the country. “Safety and security of journalists should be a priority for the government,” he said.
Modi made a case to further strengthen the communication strategy of the government with help from senior members of the press council. “The PCI can help the government to overhaul its communication strategy and plug the loopholes in its communication strategy,” Modi said.
He referred to the Emergency, a 21-month period from 1975 to 1977 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had a state of emergency declared across the country. “When we had the emergency, the press council was abolished and for about one and a half years, the council remained defunct. In 1978 when Morarji Desai was elected prime minister, the press council was reborn and there was a spirit of generosity towards the media,” he recalled.
PCI was set up to preserve the freedom of the press and to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in India.
Modi acknowledged the role of the media in communicating the developmental agenda of the nation by proactively projecting flagship programmes of the government such as Swachh Bharat, which has the potential to bring change in the country.