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Today, newspapers do not just give news. They can also mould our thinking & open a window to the world: PM Modi
In a broader context, media is a means of transforming society. That is why we refer to the media as the fourth pillar of democracy: PM
It was to muzzle vernacular newspapers, that the Vernacular Press Act was enacted in 1878: PM
Editorial freedom must be used wisely in public interest: PM Narendra Modi
A lot of the media discourse today revolves around politics. However, India is more than just us politicians: PM Modi
It is the 125 crore Indians, which make India what it is, says Prime Minister Modi

At the outset, I express my condolences and sympathies to the families of all those, who have lost their loved ones, or faced immense hardship in the recent incidents of heavy rain and floods in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu. I have assured the State Government of all possible support. I also express grief at the passing away of senior journalist, Thiru R. Mohan.

The Dina Thanthi has completed seventy five glorious years. I commend the contributions of Thiru S.P. Adithanar, Thiru S.T. Adithanar, and Thiru Balasubramanian ji, for the successful journey so far. Their stellar efforts over the last seven and a half decades, have made Thanthi one of the biggest media brands. Not just in the State of Tamil Nadu, but in the entire country. I also compliment the management and staff of the Thanthi group for this success.

24 hour news channels are now available to millions of Indians. Yet, for many, the day still begins with a cup of tea or coffee in one hand, and a newspaper in the other. I am told that the Dina Thanthi offers this option today, through seventeen editions, not only in Tamil Nadu but also in Bengaluru, Mumbai and even in Dubai. This remarkable expansion over seventy five years, is a tribute to the visionary leadership of Thiru S.P. Adithanar, who began this newspaper in 1942. Newsprint was a rare commodity in those days. But he began the newspaper by printing on paper made by hand, from straw.

The font size, simple language and easy to understand narrative made Dina Thanthi popular among the people. In those times, it brought them political awareness and information. People used to throng the tea-shops to read this newspaper. Thus began the voyage, that continues till today, when its balanced coverage makes the Dina Thanthi popular, from a daily wage earner, to the highest political functionary in the State.

I came to know that Thanthi means telegram. Dina Thanthi means “daily telegram”. Over the last seventy five years, the traditional telegram, delivered by the postal department, has become obsolete, and gone out of existence. But this telegram, continues to grow every day. Such is the power of a noble idea, backed by hard work and commitment.  

I am happy to learn that the Thanthi group has instituted awards for promoting Tamil Literature in the name of its founder Thiru Adithanar. I whole-heartedly congratulate the awardees: Thiru. Tamilanban, Dr. Irai Anbu and Thiru. V.G. Santhosham. I am sure, this recognition will be a motivating factor for those who have taken to writing as a noble profession.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Mankind's quest for knowledge is as old as our history itself. Journalism helps quench this thirst. Today, newspapers do not just give news. They can also mould our thinking and open a window to the world. In a broader context, media is a means of transforming society. That is why, we refer to the media, as the fourth pillar of democracy. I am fortunate today, to be among those who demonstrate the power of the pen, and show how it can be the vital life-force and conscience of society.

During the dark days of colonialism, publications such as the Sambad Kaumudi of Raja Ram Mohan Roy, the Kesari of Lokmanya Tilak, and the Navjeevan of Mahatma Gandhi, lit a beacon, and inspired the freedom struggle. Across the country, there were pioneers in journalism, who often gave up a life of comfort. They helped create a mass consciousness and awakening, through their newspapers. Perhaps it is because of the high ideals of those founding pioneers, that so many newspapers established in the days of the British Raj, continue to flourish today.

Friends,

We must never forget that successive generations performed the duties required of them, towards society, and the nation. That is how we achieved freedom. After independence, the rights of citizens gained importance in public discourse. Unfortunately, over time we seem to have neglected our individual and collective sense of duty. This has in some way contributed to several ills that plague our society today. The need of the hour is to create a mass awakening towards "engaged, responsible, and aware citizens." The civic sense of “entitlement” must be suitably balanced by a civic sense of “responsible engagement.” This should happen, of course, through our education system, and the conduct of our political leaders. But the media too, has a key role to play here.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Many of the newspapers that shaped the discourse for freedom, were vernacular newspapers. In fact, the then British Government was fearful of the Indian Vernacular Press. It was to muzzle vernacular newspapers, that the Vernacular Press Act was enacted in 1878.

In our diverse nation, the role of vernacular newspapers - newspapers published in regional languages - remains as important today, as it was then. They carry content in a language that is easily understood by people. Very often, they cater to vulnerable and socially disadvantaged groups. Their strength, their impact, and thus, their responsibility, can never be under-estimated. They are the messengers of the intent and policies of the Government, in far-flung areas. Equally, they are the torch-bearers of the thoughts, feelings and emotions of our people.

In this context, it is indeed heartening to note that today, among our vibrant print media, some of the largest selling newspapers, are published in the regional languages. The Dina Thanthi, is of course, one among them.  

Friends.

I have often heard people wonder, as to how the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper.

On a serious note, we are all aware, that there is just too much that happens in the world everyday. It is the editors who select and decide what is important. They decide what should be given space on the first page, what should be given more space and what should be ignored. This, of course, casts upon them, a great responsibility. Editorial freedom must be used wisely, in public interest. Equally so, the freedom to write, and to decide what is to be written, does not include the freedom to be "less than accurate," or "factually incorrect." As Mahatma Gandhi himself told us: “The press is called the Fourth Estate. It is definitely a power, but, to misuse that power is criminal.”

Even though media may be owned by private individuals, it serves a public purpose. As scholars say, it is an instrument to produce reform through peace, rather than by force. Hence, it has as much social accountability as the elected government or the judiciary. And its conduct must be equally, above board. To recall the words of the great saint Thiruvalluvar, “There is nothing in this world except ethics, which would bring both reputation and wealth together”.

Friends.

Technology has brought about great change in the media. There was a time, when the headlines of the day, written on a village blackboard, carried immense credibility. Today, our media spans the entire range, from that village blackboard, to online bulletin boards.

Just as education now focuses a lot more on learning outcomes, our attitude towards consumption of content has changed. Today, every citizen analyses, discusses, and attempts to cross-check and verify the news that comes to him, through multiple sources. Media, therefore, must make an extra effort, to maintain credibility. Healthy competition among credible media platforms is also good for the health of our democracy.

Renewed emphasis on credibility, brings us to the subject of introspection. I firmly believe that reform in the media, whenever required, can only come from within, through introspection. Indeed, we have seen this process of introspection happen on some occasions, such as the analysis of the reportage of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Perhaps, it should happen more often.  

Friends.

I recall a quote our beloved former President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: “We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why?”

I observe, that a lot of the media discourse today revolves around politics. It is only fair that politics be discussed at length, in a democracy. However, India is more than just us politicians. It is the 125 crore Indians, which make India what it is. I would be happy to see media focus a lot more, on their stories, and their achievements.

In this endeavour, every citizen with a mobile phone is your ally. Citizen reporting can be an important tool in the sharing and dissemination of success stories of individuals. It can also be of immense help in directing relief and rescue efforts in times of crisis, or natural disasters.

Let me also add, that during times of natural disasters, media usually does its best to cover various aspects of the incident. Natural calamities seem to be occurring with increasing frequency and intensity across the world. Climate change is a challenge for each one of us. Can media take a lead in the battle against it? Can media devote just a little space, or a fixed time daily, to report, discuss, or increase awareness about what we can do to combat climate change?

I take this opportunity, to appreciate the media's response to the Swachh Bharat Mission. As we strive to achieve Swachh Bharat by 2019, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, I am touched by the constructive role that media has played, both in generating awareness and mass consciousness towards cleanliness. They have also pointed out the work that remains to be done, before we can claim to have achieved our goal.

Ladies and Gentlemen.

There is another key area, where media can play an important role. This is the initiative of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat. Let me explain this with one example.

Can a newspaper, devote just a few column inches of space, each day for one year, to this cause? Every day, they can write one simple sentence in their language of publication, along with its translation, and trans-literation, in all major Indian languages.

At the end of the year, the readers of the newspaper will have been exposed to 365 such simple sentences, in all major Indian languages. Imagine the positive impact this simple step can create. Further, schools can be encouraged to discuss this in their classrooms daily for a few minutes, so that children too, are exposed to the strength and richness of our diversity. Hence, this step will not only serve a noble cause, but will also increase the strength of the publication itself.  

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Seventy five years may be a considerable amount of time in a human life-span. But for a nation, or an institution, it marks just a significant milestone. About three months ago, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Quit India Movement. In a way, the journey of the Dina Thanthi, has mirrored the rise of India as a young, vibrant nation.

Speaking in Parliament on that day, I gave a call for creating a New India by 2022. An India that is free from the evils of corruption, casteism, communalism, poverty, illiteracy, and disease. The next five years must be about Sankalp se Siddhi - accomplishment through resolve. Only then can we create the India of the dreams of our freedom fighters. As a newspaper that was born when the nation embraced the Quit India Movement, may I suggest that the Dina Thanthi has a special responsibility in this regard. I hope that you will use this opportunity, to reflect upon what you can do for your readers, or for the people of India, over the next five years.

Even beyond the immediate target of five years, perhaps on the occasion of its platinum jubilee, the Thanthi must think of what the next seventy five years will be like. What is the best way to continue to remain relevant, and serve the people and the nation in the age of instant news at the fingertips. And in doing so, continue to maintain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and objectivity.

In conclusion, I once again appreciate the efforts of the publishers of Dina Thanthi in the service of the people of Tamil Nadu. I am sure, they will continue to constructively help in shaping the destiny of our great nation.

Thank you.  

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COVID taught us that we are stronger and better when we are together: PM Modi
September 25, 2021
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COVID taught us that we are stronger and better when we are together: PM
“Generations will remember the manner in which human resilience prevailed over everything else”
“Poverty cannot be fought by making the poor more dependent on governments. Poverty can be fought when the poor start seeing governments as trusted partners”
“When power is used to empower the poor, they get the strength to fight poverty”
“The simplest and most successful way to mitigate climate change is to lead lifestyles that are in harmony with nature”
“Mahatma Gandhi is among the greatest environmentalists of the world. He led a zero carbon footprints lifestyle. In whatever he did, he put the welfare of our planet above everything else”
“Gandhi ji highlighted the doctrine of trusteeship, where we all are trustees of the planet with the duty of caring for it”
“India is the only G-20 nation that is on track with its Paris commitments”

Namaste!

It is a delight to address this young and energetic gathering. In front of me is a global family, with all the beautiful diversity of our planet.

The Global Citizen Movement uses music and creativity to bring the world together. Music, like sports, has an inherent ability to unite. The great Henry David Thoreau once said, and I quote: "When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am in-vulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest of times, and to the latest."

Music has a calming impact on our life. It calms the mind and the entire body. India is home to many musical traditions. In every state, in every region, there are many different styles of music. I invite you all to come to India and discover our musical vibrancy anddiversity.

Friends,

For almost two years now, humanity is battling a once in a lifetime global pandemic. Our shared experience of fighting the pandemic has taught us we are stronger and better when we are together. We saw glimpses of this collective spirit when our COVID-19 warriors, doctors, nurses, medical staff gave their best in fighting the pandemic. We saw this spirit in our scientists and innovators, who created new vaccines in record time. Generations will remember the manner in which human resilience prevailed over everything else.

Friends,

In addition to COVID, other challenges remain. Among the most persistent of the challenges is poverty. Poverty cannot be fought by making the poor more dependent on governments. Poverty can be fought when the poor start seeing governments as trusted partners. Trusted partners who will give them the enabling infrastructure to forever break the vicious circle of poverty.

Friends,

When power is used to empower the poor, they get the strength to fight poverty. And therefore, our efforts include banking the unbanked, providing social security coverage to millions, giving free and quality healthcare to 500 million Indians. It would make you happy that about 30 million houses have been built for the homeless in our cities and villages. A house is not only about shelter. A roof over the head gives people dignity. Another mass movement taking place in India is to providedrinking water connection to every household.The Government is spending over a trillion dollars for next-generation infrastructure.For several months last year and now, free food grains have been provided to 800 millions of our citizens.These, and several other efforts will give strength to the fight against poverty.

Friends,

The threat of climate change is looming large before us.The world will have to accept that the any change in the global environment first begins with the self. The simplest and most successful way to mitigate climate change is to lead lifestyles that are in harmony with nature.

The great Mahatma Gandhi is widely known for his thoughts on peace and non-violence. But, do you know that he is also among the greatest environmentalists of the world. He led a zero carbon footprints lifestyle. In whatever he did, he put the welfare of our planet above everything else.He highlighted the doctrine of trusteeship, where we all are trustees of the planet with the duty of caring for it.

Today, India is the only G-20 nation that is on track with its Paris commitments. India is also proud to have brought the world together under the banner of the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.

Friends,

We believe in the development of India for the development of humankind.I want to conclude by quoting the Rig Veda, which is perhaps one of the world's oldest scriptures.Its verses are still the golden standard in nurturing global citizens.

The Rig Veda says:

संगच्छध्वंसंवदध्वंसंवोमनांसिजानताम्

देवाभागंयथापूर्वेसञ्जानानाउपासते||

समानोमन्त्रःसमितिःसमानीसमानंमनःसहचित्तमेषाम्।

समानंमन्त्रम्अभिमन्त्रयेवःसमानेनवोहविषाजुहोमि।।

समानीवआकूति: समानाहृदयानिव: |

समानमस्तुवोमनोयथाव: सुसहासति||

It means:

Let us move forward together, speaking in one voice;

Let our minds be in agreement and let us share what we have, like the Gods share with each other.

Let us have a shared purpose and shared minds. Let us pray for such unity.

Let us have shared intentions and aspirations that unify us all.

Friends,

what can be a better manifesto for a global citizen than this?May we keep working together

for a kind, just and inclusive planet.

Thank you.

Thank you very much.

Namaste.