Cherish and value awards, says President Pranab

Cherish and value awards, says President Pranab

Cherish and value awards, says President Pranab

In what is seen as a disapproval to returning of awards by writers, scientists and filmmakers, President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday said prestigious awards should be “cherished and valued” by recipients.

“Such awards should be cherished and valued by those who receive them. Sensitive minds sometimes get disturbed by some incidents in society. But, expression of concern over such events should be balanced. Emotions should not overrun reason, and disagreement should be expressed through debate and discussion,” he said.

The President was addressing a function organised by the Press Council of India (PCI) to mark the National Press Day.

“We must, as proud Indians, have confidence in the idea of India and the values and principles enshrined in our Constitution. India has always been able to self-correct whenever such a need arises,” he added. The President’s remarks come days after he highlighted the significance of preserving the “diversity and plurality” as well as the need for the spirit of “tolerance”, amid raging debate over “rising intolerance” in the country.

Many of the eminent writers, filmmakers, artists and even scientists have so far returned their national awards in protest against what they described as “rising intolerance” in the country in wake of the murder of Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi and lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri.

Speaking on the role of the Press, Mukherjee said that the media must act as a watchdog of public interest and give voice to the marginalised with objective and balanced coverage of news.

“Sensationalism should not substitute objective, accurate and dispassionate reporting. Gloom and dark alone should not dominate news coverage. Caution should be exercised by media in passing judgments, especially on matters where the due process of law is yet to be completed,” he said.

The media must realise that it remains always accountable to its readers and viewers and through them, to the entire nation, he added.

At the event, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said the government was committed to ensure freedom of speech. “In the last one month, there has been talk of intolerance in our country. There is no debate on this topic. India is and will forever remain the most tolerant nation in the world,” he said.