CJI says media houses with commercial interests are vulnerable to ‘external pressures’

Independent journalism is the backbone of democracy, says Chief Justice of India NV Ramana

Independent journalism is the backbone of democracy, says Chief Justice of India NV Ramana

Media houses with other business interests and multiple businesses become vulnerable to “external pressures” and undermine democracy, India’s Chief Justice NV Ramana said July 26.

“You may recall that only media houses with no commercial baggage were able to fight for democracy during the dark days of the emergency,” the chief justice said.

“All I’m saying is that the media should limit themselves to honest journalism and not use it as a tool to expand their influence and commercial interests,” the CJI said.

He was speaking at the launch of Gita Vijnana Upanishad written by Gulab Chand Kothari. Lok Sabha President Om Birla was present. The speech comes just days after Chief Justice Ramana made scathing remarks about the electronic media and social media debates, calling them “kangaroo courts”.

“When a media outlet has other commercial interests, it becomes vulnerable to outside pressures. Often, commercial interests trump the spirit of independent journalism. As a result, democracy is compromised,” the CJI said. He said independent journalism was the backbone of democracy.

“It is the responsibility of the media to present the facts. Especially in the Indian social scenario, people always believe that whatever is printed is true,” CJI noted.

Recounting his days as a journalist before turning to law as a profession, Chief Justice Ramana said a true journalist runs the risk of seeing a “brilliant story killed in office”, and “that was really demoralizing.” “You can’t blame him if he repeatedly encounters such situations and loses faith in the profession,” the CJI said.

The Chief Justice noted that there was a “huge gap when it comes to systemic support for journalists in India”.

“Unfortunately, we still do not have a Pulitzer Prize-winning, nor do we produce many Pulitzer-winning journalists in India. I urge all stakeholders to consider why our standards do not are not considered good enough for international recognition and laurels,” the CJI said.

Shirlene J. Manley