New Delhi [India]: Real journalism is about facing the facts, presenting the truth, and letting all sides present their views on the platform, said Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur.
Thakur said this while inaugurating the 47th Annual Gathering and 20th Meeting of Asia-Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD) today. Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Dr. L Murugan, Secretary, I&B Shri Apurva Chandra, and Director, AIBD Ms. Philomena Gnanapragasam were present at the event.
Thakur said, “The biggest threat to mainstream media is not from new age digital platforms, but rather the mainstream media channel itself. He went on to say that real journalism was about facing the facts, presenting the truth, and letting all sides the platform to present their views”.
Inviting guests who are polarising, who spread false narratives, and who shout at the top of their lungs damages the credibility of a channel, the Minister remarked. “Your decisions regarding the guest, the tone, and visuals – define your credibility in the eyes of the audience. The view may stop for a minute to watch your show, but will never trust your anchor, your channel or brand as a trusted and transparent source of news”.
Posing prodding questions to the audience the Minister asked, “Are you going to watch as the younger audience switches and sweeps through the shrill on TV news or are you going to bring back the neutrality in NEWS and discussion in DEBATES to stay ahead of the game?”
Anurag Thakur credited the AIBD leadership during the COVID pandemic for keeping the member countries connected online and maintaining a constant dialogue on how media can mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
He noted, “Member countries were immensely benefitted through sharing of information on the latest developments in the medical field, positive stories of Covid warriors and more importantly in countering fake news which was spreading faster than the pandemic.”
Thakur congratulated the Director of AIBD, Philomena, President of AIBD General Conference, Mayank Agrawal, and the member countries who worked together in building a strong media response to the Covid pandemic in the Asia Pacific region.
Speaking on the theme of the event ‘Building a stronger future for broadcasting in the post-pandemic era’, the Minister remarked that “though broadcast media is and has always been in the mainstream of journalism, the COVID-19 era has shaped its structure in a more strategic way.
“The Covid pandemic has taught us how right and timely information can save millions of lives. It is media that brought the world on one platform during this difficult phase and reinforced the spirit of one global family. Presenting the role of Indian media during the pandemic as a success story, he said that the media ensured that COVID-19 awareness messages, important government guidelines, and free online consultations with doctors reached everyone in the nook and corner of the country”, the minister added.
Thakur prodded the member countries to set up cooperation in the area of good quality content exchange. “Program exchanges through such co-operation bring the world cultures together. Such media partnerships between the countries help in building strong people-to-people bonds”, he said.
In conclusion, the Minister underlined that media, in all its forms, has an immense ability to shape public perceptions and perspectives as an effective tool of empowerment. “It is imperative to create an enabling environment for our journalists and broadcasters friends for making the space of media more vibrant and rewarding”, he added.
Mayank Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Prasar Bharati, and President, AIBD, in his remarks, said that AIBD continued its training and capacity-building programs even during lockdowns. 34 training programs were conducted last year alone and were focused on tradition as well as emerging issues like climate change, green technologies, sustainable development, faster reporting, programming for children, etc.
Agarwal highlighted that with an increase in the use of the internet in broadcasting, training of journalists in cyber security journalism has become imperative, he said. He added that AIBD is the first set up to take this up as part of its training programs.
During the event, Thakur presided over the award presentation for 2021 and 2022. The Appreciation Award for 2021 was conferred on Radio Television Brunei. The Appreciation Award for 2022 was shared by the Ministry of Economy, Civil Service, Communications, Housing and Community Development, the Republic of Fiji, and Fiji Broadcasting Corporation.
The Lifetime Achievement Award for 2021 was given to Khieu Khanharith, Minister of Information and Communication, Cambodia. The Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022 was conferred on Mayank Agarwal, CEO, PB, and President, of AIBD.
Heads of various foreign missions in India, delegates from the AIBD member countries, Officers from Prasar Bharati, and different wings of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India were present at the occasion.