Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Wednesday cautioned the press against "erosion of credibility" and said "truth, impartiality and fairness" must be upheld under all circumstances.

After presenting the state awards for developmental journalism for 2009, 2010 and 2011, he said there was a crisis of credibility in all sections of the society and the fourth pillar of democracy had also been affected.

"People did not have much faith in politicians and bureaucrats but the other two pillars judiciary and media are the watchdogs. In a democratic set up, credibility was the strength of judiciary and media, which must be protected in the larger interest," he said.

The media must highlight the shortcomings and failures of the government, but should also give adequate coverage to positive news and ensure that facts are presented in a proper perspective to enable people to frame the right opinion, he said.

Lauding the role of the media in pre-independence era, he said it was such a powerful weapon that luminaries like Mahatma Gandhi and Lala Lajpat Rai used the medium for intensifying the freedom struggle and the same spirit should be revived to make it a weapon of socioeconomic transformation.

Dhumal also announced the enhancement of concession in HPTDC hotels and restaurants to the awardee journalists from existing 25 per cent to 40 per cent.

A committee under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary (IPR) would be constituted to look into problems and other issues related to media, he added.

The recipients of the state awards were Jagdish Bhatt and Hemlata in print media category for 2010 and 2011, district level awards were presented to Rajiv Phull and Subhash Mehra.

In the electronic media category, Sanjeev Sharma, Shishu Shantal and Monika bagged the state award for 2009, 2010 and 2011.


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