Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has addressed a gathering at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on the occasion of National Press Day. Recalling the inception of the newspaper in India, Naidu praised the role of the press in shaping the history of India, starting from the Bengal Gazette which was the first newspaper of the nation. He also lauded the efforts of the Press in playing a crucial role in empowering people.
“Ever since the launch of the first newspaper in India, the Bengal Gazette by James Augustus Hicky in 1780, the Press has been playing an outstanding role in empowering people. The Press played a pioneering and stellar role in inspiring the masses to fight against the British during the freedom struggle and in strengthening the democratic foundations in the country since independence,” said Naidu while appreciating the role of the press in India.
Naidu also recalled how the Press played a responsible role during the emergency period in 1975, despite the freedom of the Press was sabotaged. He said that the Press barring a few newspapers was muted during the emergency and added that a blank tutorial published by a private press during the emergency was perhaps one of the strongest protests ever published in censorship in India.
He cited that the country has given the Freedom of the Press, hence the Press has the freedom to write anything but the torch bearers of the news must always have the nation's interest in the mind. "We have the right to do anything but the uppermost thing should be the country's interest. The national unity, integrity, safety, sovereignty for the people in the country should be uppermost in our mind."
In his address, the Vice President compared the current scenario as against the past and opined, "In the past, Journalism was a mission, but of-late we are seeing some of them being converted from mission to commission. Many of them are doing omission and also giving remission to the truth, forgetting their own mission."
National Press Day is observed every year across India on November 16. The day marks the presence of an independent and responsible press in India which is considered as the fourth pillar of democracy. The Press Council of India, the governing body of the press started functioning as a responsible body overlooking the works of the Press on this day.