Passing judgments is in no way the role of the press: Omar

The media now-a-days has become mentor, investigator and prosecutor but passing judgments and jumping to conclusions is in no way the role of the press, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said today.

"The media now-a-days has become a mentor, investigator and prosecutor but it should leave the role of judge to the people", Omar said during the launch of Jammu edition of "The Tribune" newspaper here.

"There are so many examples before us where the media passes judgments and the facts ultimately turn out differently. This is the point which pinches the shoe", he said.

"You may act as prosecutors but passing judgments and jumping to conclusions is in no way the role of the press. When the story, upon which the media has passed judgment, turns otherwise, it cannot be reversed, as the damage is already done", the Chief Minister said.

Omar stressed the importance of newspapers reporting fair and objective news in the right perspective and said "the passing of judgments without ascertaining facts and biased projection of reports and individual slants is the cause for sleepless nights".

The Chief Minister described the media as one of the important pillars of democracy and highlighted its impact on the minds of the people.

Omar also expressed surprise over the "hype" created by the media on certain issues and remaining totally quiet when facts are proved otherwise and cited the example of the children of an NRI couple in Norway.

The Chief Minister also referred to the "instant" news reporting by the electronic media and said this scenario has thrown a great challenge to the print media.

He said that in order to meet this challenge and maintain popularity among readers, the print media has to prove prudent, vibrant, informative, educative and relevant.

Omar praised the organisation for its "new initiative" in bringing out the newspaper and said "the people had waited for this good news for a long time".

"I am happy that Jammu and Kashmir would get good coverage and fair reporting will mark the standard of the paper", he said, adding Delhi edition of various newspapers give not more than half a page to the events taking place in the State.

At the same event, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra also stressed on fair and objective news reporting in newspapers.

Welcoming valid criticism on issues of governance, public service delivery and protection of fundamental rights, the Governor underlined the importance of news reporting and analysis done on the basis of facts.

"Your fair analysis of events can contribute to having a well informed citizenry," the Governor said, adding that this can also help the leaders to visualise the course of future events.

The Governor said the role of media in a democracy is that of a watchdog. "Like the legislature, the print media has the responsibility of examining the performance of the executive and highlighting public issues," he said.

There has, however, been a growing trend which shows media arriving at hasty conclusions and passing "judgements" on varied issues, Vohra said.

The Governor expressed the hope that the media would strictly follow the practice of objective news reporting and balanced analysis of events.

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