Survival of small and medium newspapers critical to society: Arjun

NEW DELHI: Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh has stressed the importance for small and medium newspapers at a time when the face of Indian Media was changing because of the growth of Internet, the phenomenal rise of Satellite and cable networks, the continuing growth of regional press, and blurring of lines between news and entertainment.

He said all this had obviously led to technological and commercial pressures and changes in professional practices for the media sector.

Inaugurating a seminar on ‘Media and its Responsibilities’ here yesterday, the Minister said the media was rightly acknowledged as one of the important pillars of democracy as it performed the most critical function among institutions that contribute to the makeup of a public sphere in society. ‘It is always interesting to study how the media report and interpret political events and issues, and how media itself influences the political processes and shapes public opinion’, he said.

The Minister said it was very important for the small and medium newspapers to grow in order to ensure multiple access to media by everyone, including the poor and underprivileged sections of society. These newspapers were largely catering to information, communication and entertainment needs of rural and semi-urban India. They drew their strength from being local. One needed to appreciate that people belonging to rural areas possibly would not have access to mediums like internet and satellite and cable television. Their information requirement could either be met by Doordarshan, Radio or newspapers.

Singh said he was aware that small and medium newspapers had to face problems because of small scale of production and lack of resources for continuous technological improvement in production processes. Small newspapers, because of their inherent disability to circulate in huge numbers, and their localized nature, failed to attract enough commercial advertisements, adversely affecting the quality of news gathering and the final product.

Others who spoke at the seminar included former Governor Bhishma Narain Singh, former Central Bureau of Investigation Director Joginder Singh, former Election Commissioner G.V.G. Krishnamurthy, Mrs Deepak Sandhu who is Director General (Media & Communications) Press Information Bureau, All India Small and Medium Newspapers Federation President Gurinder Singh, and Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan.

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