Democracy is facing a crisis situation in the country and it is the duty of the media, the fourth pillar of democracy to protect it, DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said on Wednesday, 20 September.
In his address at a book release event, Stalin urged the media to support good schemes. “Write supporting, wholeheartedly, the good schemes implemented by a regime. Only when you do so, there will be true value and respect when you make criticisms.”
There would be no value for the criticism if that alone is done, he said.
‘Democracy, secularism facing crisis’
It is the dharma of impartial media to support what is right and point out criticism if any. The chief minister said that this is his “humble request” to the Tamil Nadu media and it is for the sake of the nation and its people.
He added, “The reason is, today, democracy, secularism, brotherhood, and social justice are facing a crisis. We will stop (the crisis) by facing it politically. That will, however, not be sufficient.”
Releasing the book Kalaignar 100 — Vikatanum Kalaignarum, brought out by the Vikatan Group, which publishes Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan, he said that the fourth pillar of democracy is the media/newspapers and they should do their duty.
The English daily The Hindu and Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan supported the struggle for independence, he added.
‘It is about democracy, not politics’
Pointing to critical editorials in the magazine, such as a recent one on The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, Stalin said, “I say that this is the crisis faced by democracy. I am not talking politics. I am only talking about democracy.”
He referred to the Manipur violence and registration of FIRs vis-à-vis the fact-finding team of the Editors Guild of India and the matter reaching the Supreme Court.
Stalin alleged that be it the Supreme Court or the Election Commission, all the constitutional bodies are in a quandary. At this juncture, the media has the duty to protect democracy and through that initiative, the nation. Only if democracy is protected, there will be a media industry in future.
Praising the book, Stalin said that it is like the diary of the late leader and a treasure that also includes Karunanidhi’s interviews with journalists during important phases of history.
The first copy of the book was received by Makkal Needhi Maiam chief and actor Kamal Haasan from Stalin.
Besides elected representatives and ministers, the Director of The Hindu Publishing Group, N Ram, Vikatan Group Managing Director B Srinivsan, and Dinamalar’s associate editor Krishnamurthy took part in the event.
The book has been published on the occasion of Karunanidhi’s centenary (2023-24).
In his address, Kamal Haasan hailed Karunanidhi for his leadership as chief minister and recalled the late leader’s vision in various spheres, including the development of industries and the infrastructure needed for it.
Equal rights for women in properties (through an amendment to the Hindu Succession Act), Periyar Memorial Samathuvapuram (equality neighbourhoods), and enactment of legislation to enable the appointment of persons from all castes as temple priests were among Karunanidhi’s several key initiatives, the actor underlined.
Haasan recalled several incidents from his long-time association with Karunanidhi and praised him as a great leader who stood by democracy and freedom of speech.
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