Rajyavardhan Rathore says that govt has no control on news portals

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Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

New Delhi : The new Information and Broadcasting (I&B) minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore on Tuesday mentioned that the country’s media should adopt self-regulation and emphasized that the government has no plans to control news portals and media websites.

Dismissing the “government vs media” debate, he said his ministry would work in a direction where any media, whether public broadcaster Prasar Bharati or private channels, becomes the 'voice of people'.

“The prime minister is very clear that the media in our country is one of the very important pillars of democracy and they have to self-regulate,” Rathore told reporters.

Rathore took the charge of State of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry after replacing Smriti Zubin Irani. He also holds the portfolio of Sports Ministry.

The I&B minister said that, in India, self-regulation is done in various layers, first by a journalist and then by editors, and that the government keeps on believing in self-regulation by the media.

The comments suppose implication in the backdrop of a controversial press release issued by the ministry last month on fake news. The message was widely criticised by media organisations and subsequently withdrawn after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention.

To a doubt over the ministry issuing an order last month for constitution of a committee to frame rules to control news portals and media websites, Rathore said, “I think you have misunderstood it.”

He said Prasar Bharati will be strengthened and high priority would be given to “better and informative” programmes.

“It is not us vs them...It is not about two teams. It is about a collective responsibility that media becomes the voice of the people, whether it is Prasar Bharati or private network or channel. We will work in this direction,” the Union minister said.

 “We will continue to do that,” he said.

On the challenge created by social media, the I&B minister said the social media platform was “totally independent” and that there would be “all kinds of dialogues” in it.  We hope people put across their views with responsibility, he added.