Central University of Punjab celebrated National Press Day
Kanwar Inder Singh/ royalpatiala.in
To mark the occasion of National Press Day 2022, the Central University of Punjab, under the patronage of Vice-Chancellor Prof. Raghavendra P. Tiwari, organized a special lecture on Newspaper to Sixth Pillar of Democracy: Relevance of Journalism. The invited speaker for this programme was Soni Sangwan, a media professional with extensive print and television experience.
Sangwan has served in key positions in leading media houses, viz., Chief Reporter of Hindustan Times and Associate Editor of CNN IBN. Presently, she is working as Deputy Editor in Metro Now.
Central University of Punjab celebrated National Press Day. Soni Sangwan stated to the participants that the media was born as a watchdog of society, and journalism was considered a noble profession in the 18th and 19th centuries, when journalists practised honest, fact-gathering, and investigative journalism for social awakening and upliftment. She highlighted how our national heroes utilized the mass media to invoke the spirit of nationalism among the citizens and encourage them to participate in the freedom struggle, citing examples of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak (founder of Kesari, a Marathi Newspaper); Moti Lal Ghosh and Sisir Kumar Ghosh (founders of Amrita Bazar Patrika); Mahatma Gandhi (founder of Indian Opinion, Harijan and Young India); G. Subramania Iyer (founder of The Hindu and Swadesamitran) and others. She underlined that post-independence era, the public’s trust in this once noble profession has dwindled fast owing to sensational and one-sided journalism.
Prof. Sangwan mentioned that the emergence of the internet in the last decade of the 20th century and social media in the first decade of the 21st century has empowered common citizens to turn out as journalists and share their opinions with others without any barriers. She shed light on the role of social media during COVID-19 waves and stated that social media has emerged as the sixth pillar of our democracy as this medium has the power to unite people during crisis situations and during SOS calls. She mentioned that, besides several positives, the interactive media has led to a surge in fake news due to the absence of gatekeepers on this medium. Youngsters need to learn to distinguish between information and misinformation by verifying the news from credible sources.
The programme commenced with the welcome address by Dr. Kulbhushan Sharma. Dr. Vipan Pal Singh expressed gratitude toward the esteemed speaker and urged youngsters to utilize new media technologies responsibly. Towards the end, Dr. Sanjeev Mander gave a formal vote of thanks. The programme was attended by faculty, research scholars and students of the university.