Media plays a critical and positive role in highlighting government policies to the people and in changing their lives, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday and remembered its contributions in popularising initiatives like ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ and ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ scheme which were beyond the political domain.
Hailing the role played by the media in popularising government initiatives as well as fitness activities like Yoga, the Prime Minister suggested that lesser known events of freedom struggle and unsung freedom fighters could also be highlighted or amplified by the fourth estate.
“For any nation to develop, making good policies is one aspect. But, to enable the policies to succeed and to ensure that large scale transformation takes place, active participation from all walks of society is needed. For that the media plays a critical role. In these years gone by, I have seen the positive impact the media can play,” the Prime Minister said while inaugurating online the centenary celebrations of leading Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi.
“In the same way, every town or village has places associated with the freedom movement. Not much is known about them. We could highlight those places and encourage people to visit them.
Among other suggestions he made included encouraging up and coming writers from non-media backgrounds.
“Can we encourage the up and coming writers from non-media backgrounds and give them a platform to showcase their writing skills? One of India’s biggest strengths is our diversity. Can we think about making key words of other languages popular through your media properties?”
During his speech, he also spoke about how the country overcame the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis which followed.
He said that when the pandemic reached Indian shores, there was speculation that India would not be able to handle it.
“The people of India proved these critics wrong. We used the last two years to improve the health of our society and the health of our economy. For two years, 80 crore people got access to free ration. 180 crore doses of vaccines have been administered.
“In a time when many nations are unable to overcome vaccine hesitancy, the people of India have shown the way. Powered by India’s talented youth, our nation is moving towards atma nirbharta or self-reliance. At the core of this principle is to make India an economic power-house that caters to domestic and global needs,” the Prime Minister said.
Reforms, like production linked incentive schemes, were brought in to boost economic progress and as a result the start-up ecosystem of the country is “more vibrant” and India is leading the world in technological advancement, he said.
Besides that, Rs 110 lakh crore was being spent on a National Infrastructure Pipeline, PM Gatishakti was going to make infra creation and governance more seamless and the government was working to ensure every village of India has high-speed internet connectivity, he further said.
“The guiding principle of our efforts is to ensure the future generations lead a better lifestyle than the present ones,” he added.
Modi further said that the way UPI transactions have increased by over 70 times in the last four years indicates the “eagerness of our people to embrace positive changes”.
The Prime Minister, in his speech also recalled the contributions of Mathrubhumi in the Indian freedom struggle and also some of its “leading lights” like K P Kesava Menon, K A Damodar Menon, Kerala Gandhi K Kelappan and Kurur Neelakantan Namboodiripad.
“Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, Mathrubhumi was born to strengthen India’s freedom struggle. Mathrubhumi is a key part of the glorious tradition of newspapers and journals founded all across India to unify the people of our nation against colonial rule,” he said.
He also particularly remembered M P Veerendra Kumar and recalled how he oversaw the rapid growth of Mathrubhumi.
“We will never forget his efforts to uphold India’s democratic ethos during the Emergency. He was a great orator, scholar and was passionate about the environment,” Modi said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also joined online the programme which was attended by dignitaries including Union Minister V Muraleedharan and state Tourism Minister P A Muhammed Riyas.
Speaking at the event, the Kerala Chief Minister said that Mathrubhumi’s commitment to the freedom struggle was well-known.
“Even after independence, Mathurbhumi upheld the principles of socialism and democracy. Mathrubhumi was in the forefront to strengthen the values of renaissance in the state. The institution stood with the fight against untouchability.
“Mathrubhumi supported the cause of temple entry. Mathrubhumi has the history of being headed by the leaders of historic Vaikom and Guruvayur satyagraha….At a time when communal forces are dragging the country back, Mathrubhumi has an important role to play,” Vijayan said.
Union Minister Muraleedharn also spoke at the event where he said that the popularity of Mathrubhumi even in the advent of social media was because of its commitment towards journalism.
Muraleedharan also criticised mediapersons over the coverage of the last last assembly election in the southern state, saying there was no difference between campaign and journalism.
“It was an unfortunate situation. Journalists may have personal political opinion. But it must not reflect in their job,” he said.
Muraleedharan said that even after the recent assembly elections in five states, when the poll results of Uttar Pradesh were announced, “certain journalists were analysing it as something bad has happened to the people of that state”.
“Why are they showing such intolerance towards a political party which rules the biggest democratic country in the world? I feel pity towards the journalists in Kerala who say the people who vote for BJP are communalists,” he added.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)