‘Fake News Can Destroy Democracy’: CJI Chandrachud At Ramnath Goenka Award

New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Wednesday said that a “functional and healthy democracy must encourage the development of journalism.” While speaking at the Ramnath Goenka awards for excellence in journalism, CJI emphasised the significance of community- and local-based journalism to “social cohesion and political activism.”

The CJI, who was the chief guest, named responsible journalism as the motor which drives a majority rule government towards a better future.

“Responsible journalism is the engine that drives democracy forward to a better tomorrow. In a digital age, it is more important than ever for journalists to be accurate, impartial, responsible and fearless in their reporting,” he said.

CJI Chandrachud said that the Indian Express’s use of blank editorial pages during the Emergency period serves as a reminder of the power of silence.

He added, “It was a fearful time but fearless time also gives rise to fearless journalism,” and that June 25, 1975 was a turning point in our history.

“One proclamation defined and redefined our perceptions of liberty and threats to it and how tenuous it can be,” he said, adding that is “why we celebrate these awards as symbolising our eternal sense of optimism on which we hope nation will continue.”

The CJI emphasized the necessity of bridging the gap between the truth and lies. “Fake news has the capability of creating tensions between communities, thereby endangering democratic values of fraternity,” he added. 

“Journalists and lawyers (or judges in my case) share something in common. Both share a belief in the saying ‘pen is mightier than the sword’,” CJI said.

“The press must remain free if the country is to remain a democracy. Newspapers have historically acted as catalysts for social and political change”, he said.

He also stated that a comprehensive mechanism for fact-checking ought to be in place due to the fact that fake news can simultaneously guide or misguide millions of people, which is in direct opposition to the fundamental principles of democracy.

Chandrachud mentioned media trials and stated that there have been instances in which the public saw an accused person as guilty before the courts did.

“It is the job of the media to convey information to the public without violating the rights of the innocents. Responsible journalism is the beacon of truth and its drives the democracy forward. We at present navigate challenges of digital age and journalists have to maintain accuracy, impartiality and fearlessness in their reporting,” he said.

ABP’s Sanjay Nandan Awarded Under ‘Uncovering India’ Category

The most prestigious award of journalism has been seen in the Ramnath Goenka Award for ABP News. Sanjay Nandan, producer of ABP News, has received the award in the 2020 ‘Uncovering India’ category. The Award was handed over to him by CJI D Y Chandrachud.

Every year, the Ramnath Goenka Award is given to journalists of different disciplines doing the best work in the field of journalism. The honor is given to journalists of print, electronic and digital media working in journalism. 

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