Media organisations should treat victims of violence, crime, war, conflicts, accidents or disasters with utmost respect, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari said.
Newspaper editors used to be intellectual stalwarts who acted as the brain trust of the country till recently, he said adding that editors must uphold journalistic ethos by ensuring that the content is accurate, impartial and independent.
“It has to be admitted regrettably, that examples of editorial daring and demonstrating the high professional and ethical standards are now few and far between,” the Vice President said at a seminar on the role of editors in today’s media, organised by Rajya Sabha Television.
“Even some of the newspapers that have strong reputations of quality have been open to serious allegations on issues of accuracy, empathy and maintaining ethical standards. Correctives are few, far in between, and insufficiently enforced,” he said addressing an audience comprising journalists and students.
Even those media organisations that had a reputation for quality are now facing allegations on issues of accuracy, empathy and ethical standards, he said.
Stressing that the editor holds the key to forming public perception, VP Ansari said that there is a need to guarantee accuracy given the information frenzy we seem to be experiencing.
“Our own recent experience has shown how erroneous reports exacerbate social and communal divides. There have been cases when news groups have aired content whose veracity and antecedents were doubtful- with disastrous effect,” he said.
The Vice President said that over the years there has been a change in the role and the position of the editor. Laying stress on the digital medium of news and media, he said that today it provides space for independent thought and contrarian views.
“We have seen some recent examples where prominent editors of well-known print dailies have moved completely to a digital medium in order to preserve their space and independence,” the Vice President added in his address.