Describing media as a "crystal ball" being gazed by millions of Indians, he said, "The nation faces critical challenges that go well beyond the pressure of 'Breaking News' and immediate headlines."

In his inaugural speech at a function to mark platinum jubilee celebration of Indian Newspaper Society (INS), Mukherjee minced no words in expressing his displeasure over paid news.

"Let me point out in this regard that it is distressing to note that some publications have resorted to 'paid news' and other such marketing strategies to drive their revenues. There is need for self-correcting mechanisms to check such aberrations. The temptation to 'dumb down' news should also be resisted....While you must continue to be effective raconteurs, you must also be visionary nation builders," the President said.

He said it was the responsibility and "bounden duty" of media to ensure that ideas are debated dispassionately and thoughts articulated without fear or favour so that opinion is always well informed.

Mukherjee said the INS can be proud that it helped create and nurture institutions like the Press Trust of India (PTI) and the Audit Bureau of Circulation.

"INS members have played a vital role in nurturing a free press which is a critical component of our democracy," he said.


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