The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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PM in hit-and-run charge on media

Chandigarh, Sept. 24: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today came down heavily on the media and called for quality control.

“In the race for capturing markets, journalists have been encouraged to cut corners, to take chances, to hit and run. I believe the time has come for journalists to take stock of how competition has impacted upon quality.

“Consider the fact that even one mistake, and a resultant accident, can debar an airline pilot from ever pursuing his career. Consider the case of one wrong operation leading to a life lost and a doctor can no longer inspire the confidence of his patients. One night of sleeping on the job at a railway crossing, an avoidable train accident, and a railwayman gets suspended. How many mistakes must a journalist make, how many wrong stories, how many motivated columns before professional clamps are placed'

“How does the financial media deal with market-moving stories that have no basis in fact. Investors gain and lose, markets rise and fall, but what happens to those reporters, analysts and editors who move and make markets'” he asked.

Singh, who was speaking at the local press club, asked if a professional code of conduct existed. “Is the Press Council the right organisation to address these challenges' Can professional organisations like the press club play a role' I have often heard that the press club is just a watering hole, a meeting place and nothing more,” he said to stunned journalists.

Moving on, Singh said: “I was shocked to discover the sharp increase in female foeticide in Punjab. This is a blot on the name of a valiant and gallant people. The Punjabi is as proud of his son as he is of his daughter. Our daughters have contributed as much to the glory of Punjab as our sons.”

He said there is need for a second green revolution in Punjab and urged the media to play a role in developing the state as a strong industrial base.

Hinting that the People’s Democratic Party might continue at the helm even after its three-year term ends in November, Singh said with the peace process picking up in Kashmir “the state will continue to make progress under the leadership of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed”.

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