New Delhi : new delhi: Without mincing words, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday told the newspaper owners to stop the menace of ‘paid news’ and other such marketing strategies by some publications to drive their revenues.

Inaugurating the platinum jubilee celebrations of the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), a newspaper owners’ largest organisation, he advocated the self-correcting mechanism to check such aberrations and laid stress that it should weed out aberrations as might have crept into the functioning of the media.

“Every effort should be made to ensure that political or commercial interests are not passed off as legitimate and independent opinion. The temptation to ‘dumb down’ news should also be resisted. The nation faces critical challenges that go well beyond the pressure of ‘Breaking News’ and immediate headlines.

“Sensationalism should never become a substitute for objective assessment and truthful reporting. Gossip and speculation should not replace hard facts,” the President said, while stressing that the conduct of the media should be above board for it to play an important role to play in cleansing the public life. “It must be always kept in mind that ends and means are both important.” “You are after all the crystal ball that millions of Indians gaze at. It is your responsibility and your bounden duty to ensure that ideas are debated dispassionately and thoughts articulated without fear or favour so that opinion is always well informed”, he added.

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