NEW DELHI: Three days after advising electronic, digital and social media to self-regulate or face external regulation, CJI N V Ramana on Tuesday said independent journalism is a must for vibrant democracy as people have a lot of faith in what is printed in newspapers.
Speaking at the release of a book on Gita in presence of Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Justice Ramana said, “Independent journalism is the backbone of democracy. Journos are the eyes and the ears of the people. It is the responsibility of media houses to present facts. Especially in the Indian social scenario, people still believe that whatever is printed is true. All I want to say is that the media must confine itself to honest journalism without using it as a tool to expand its influence and business interests.”
He said when a media house has other business interests, it becomes vulnerable to external pressures. “Often, the business interests prevail over the spirit of independent journalism. As a result, democracy gets compromised,” he said.
In contrast, on Saturday in Ranchi, the CJI uncharacteristically had warned electronic media to desist from holding trials and unsavoury campaigns against judges and telecast agenda-driven debates, and said that both were detrimental to the health of democracy in India. He had said justice delivery was becoming challenging with each passing day. Campaigns in media, particularly in social media against judges, have become a major impeding factor, he had said, adding unless the media self-regulated its conduct and stopped transgressing the limits, the judiciary could be forced to draw lines for them.