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Media must empower the common man in an accountable manner: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Newdelhi:10/5/18;Union Minister of Electronics & IT and Law & Justice, Sh. Ravi Shankar Prasad said today that for the Indian Government, freedom of media is integral to polity, duly recognized by the Constitution and reinforced by Judiciary in series of judgements. Addressing the 15th Asia Media Summit here today, Shri Prasad said that the media has full right to inform, circulate, criticize, advice and counsel. The rights of Media under the Constitution are also subject to reasonable restrictions.

On misuse of data, the Minister said India will not allow the country to become a centre of data pilferage, and that data commerce through collusive methods cannot be used to influence its electoral process. Shri Prasad said all the online companies which are in the business of data commerce must understand the nuances of accountability. He said that when the recent controversy surrounding data privacy surfaced, the Government took a very firm stand on these issues. Shri Prasad further said that accountability is integral to democracy and all institutions – the Government, the Judiciary, the Legislature and the Media – have to adhere to this principle. Referring to India becoming a very big centre of data analysis, he said that there is a need to have a proper coordination on data availability, data utility, data innovation, data anonymity and data privacy. He said that a committee headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge is looking into these issues and soon the Government would enact a data protection law.

Dwelling upon the issue of Ethical Journalism, the Law Minister said that it must be fair, true, properly presented highlighting sights and counter sights and empowering the consumers of news in a decent and independent fashion. The Minister wondered whether the media today, under the garb of sensationalism, paid news, fake news, too much of other insidious practices is addressing to this large issue. This is a matter of debate, the Minister added.

Supporting the principle of self-regulation by the media, Shri Prasad said that the IT act mandates that the content going through the intermediary is not dangerous, libelous and does not impinge upon the security and integrity of the country nor should it encroach upon the copyrights. On sanctity of privacy, the Minister noted that the Supreme Court had upheld privacy as part of the Fundamental Rights. But, he added that the plea of privacy cannot become a shield for the corrupt and the terrorists. The Minister elaborated that on the issues of terrorism, propagation of hatred and communalization and on the issue of promoting extremism, there has to be a global consensus that needs to be properly enforced.


Other dignitaries presenting their views on Media Regulation during the session included H.E. Mr. Hasanul Haq Inu, Minister of Information, Bangladesh, H.E. Dr. Khieu Kanharith, Minister of Information, Cambodia, Mr. Sam Seog Ko, Standing Commissioner, Communication Commission, Republic of Korea and Justice C.K. Prasad, Chairman Press Council of India. The session was moderated by Dr. Venkat Iyer, Barrister, UK.

In all the presentations, there was a consensus on a host of issues including ensuring freedom of expression and healthy development of an independent media, while respecting individual privacy. At the same time, all the speakers highlighted the challenge of fake news and misuse of expanding cyber space for propagating cyber crimes and terrorism. The speakers also underlined the issues of cyber piracy, patent and copyright violations and a consensus was reached to tackle these problems through cooperative dialogue among different countries.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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