Speaking at a media awards function in Kolkata Sunday, former President and Bharat Ratna awardee Pranab Mukherjee said that people should be careful while sharing information on social media platforms and underlined the importance of checking facts.
"Several social and communal tensions have traced their roots to rumours shared over social media by mischievous persons. Even people who innocently share such posts become party to the mischief," Mukherjee was quoted as saying by PTI.
Revealing that he has great confidence in print media, the former president asserted that print journalism has a maximum impact among readers. Addressing the gathering of journalists, he said that whenever he reads newspapers, he is assured that the report has been edited and verified, which is not the case with social media posts.
"This is why we need to be extremely careful while sharing information on social media," he was quoted as saying.
Mukherjee highlighted that while media for dissemination of information has evolved over the years from scribbling notes to typewriters and now mobile phones, he asserted that objectivity in journalism should not be compromised with.
"You (journalists) can be at liberty of expressing your views as an inpidual in the editorial, but please maintain objectivity in the news," he was quoted as saying.
Mukherjee stated that journalists may have a perspective while perceiving news but caution should be exercised while presenting facts to the citizens.
The former President also lauded the role of the press in defending the democratic ideals and the Constitution and added that media as the "fourth pillar of democracy" holds other three pillars accountable to the people.
"With great power comes great responsibility," Mukherjee remarked.
He also hailed Bengal as the "cradle of Indian journalism", where first Indian newspaper ‘Hicky’s Bengal Gazette’ was published in 1780. "Journalism played an exemplary role in our social renaissance and freedom struggle of the country," Mukherjee was quoted as saying in the media awards function.