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21 Jan, 2020 05:01

‘Fake news is a menace’: India’s president urges journalists to pursue truth over ratings at annual RNG press awards

‘Fake news is a menace’: India’s president urges journalists to pursue truth over ratings at annual RNG press awards

If the press is to remain relevant, it must reassert its commitment to truth and reject the specter of ‘fake news’, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind told an audience at the yearly Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards.

“Fake news has emerged a new menace, whose purveyors proclaim themselves as journalists and taint this noble profession,” Kovind said at the event in New Delhi on Monday, calling on the industry to “reclaim its values of honesty and fairness.”

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The president also slammed those on a quest for “eyeballs and ratings,” arguing that stories covering social injustices and inequalities are often ignored in favor of “trivia” amid a chaotic “din of breaking news.”

A section of the media has then taken recourse to entertainment in the name of news… But, I am confident that, quality journalism will prevail in the long run – the kind of journalism we have gathered to celebrate today.

Recalling the founder of the Indian Express Group, Ramnath Goenka – the award’s namesake, who had a profound influence on India’s journalism industry – Kovind mused about how the veteran journalist would have dealt with fake news.

“He would never have allowed the situation to go adrift and initiated measures for course correction for the whole media fraternity,” the president said.

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The Excellence in Journalism Awards, also known as the RNG, were established in 2006 to recognize exemplary reporting in India. This year, the RNG jury considered 922 story entries for awards, according to the Express Group’s current chairman, Viveck Goenka.

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