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Sibal moots creation of Trust Fund to strengthen news agencies

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 15 (UNI) Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal today proposed the creation of a Trust Fund for economically strengthening news agencies so that they could become ''internally strong and externally responsible''.

Participating in the Silver Jubilee celebration of the UNI Workers Union at the agency headquarters here, Mr Sibal lauded the role played by agencies in conveying the news from the government to the people and said it was the government's responsibility to financially strengthen news agencies like UNI.

This could be done by creating an Institutional Framework in the form of a Corporate Sector Trust Fund. This trust should provide money to UNI and PTI which would make them internally strong and externally more responsible.

It would also help in the professional growth of journalists by giving them more avenues for doing professional courses in India and abroad. It would not only enhance their professional capacity but also make them more responsible in exercising their journalistic freedom.

Pointing out that the freedom of press has not been mentioned in the Constitution which has defined the roles of Parliament, executive and judiciary, the minister said it was due to this fact that the concept of freedom cannot be defined. He said the government could not regulate and control the press, it was for the media itself to define its 'lakshman rekha' (limit) which was beneficial to democracy.

Asking journalists to desist from sensationalising news, he said they should realise that their writings could ruin reputations and careers.

Journalists have to do proper research and pose serious questions for a healthy debate in the society on issues, he said.

Lauding the role played by news agencies like UNI in ensuring freedom of the press, he said the agencies should be strengthened.

Stating that press acted as a ''satellite'' between the government, and people, Mr Sibal said the issues affecting the common people like water scarcity, shelterlessness, inflation and economic growth should be given weightage instead of political reporting which was mainly ''vote bank politics''.

Urging media to launch public debate on matters affecting people, he said that press should reflect the correct picture of the issues.

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