New Delhi, May 25 (IANS): Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur on Wednesday said the media has immense ability to shape the right public perceptions and perspectives as an effective tool of empowerment.
Virtually addressing 17th Asia Media Summit, Thakur said that the Indian media ensured that the Covid awareness messages, important government guidelines and free consultations with doctors reach everyone in the country.
"The Doordarshan and All India Radio significantly delivered on their mandate of public service was proved by their role in setting the trend through prompt coverage, ground reports and organising programmes on public health," he said.
Thakur applauded the role played by Indian media during the trying times of Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking about misinformation, the Minister said: "Unverified claims and fake content circulating in media had created an atmosphere of extreme fear amongst the people."
Crediting Press Information Bureau's Fact Check Unit, he said it strongly fought against this menace of fake news and misinformation by bursting it on real time basis.
Further highlighting the government's achievements in the fight against Covid-19, Thakur said that while vaccinating a 1.3 billion population was hugely challenging, India has vaccinated a majority of its population due to combined efforts of the government, Covid warriors and civil society.
Crediting the media for sharing this burden and delivering, the Minister said: "In this endeavor, the Indian media played a very important role in educating the people about the benefit of being vaccinated against coronavirus. We faced many road blocks. One of the foremost challenges was vaccine hesitancy. That was broken by media through right messages and education. Our Prime Minister Modi address the citizens through All India Radio programmes or through TV channels to reach out and clear this to give clear message about the vaccine. "
The theme of Asia Media Summit this year is 'Future Forward, Reimagining Media', and emphasizing the changing delivery mechanisms of media Thakur remarked that media today, is highly technological driven and is witnessing a rapid pace of innovation. Growth of internet through affordable mobile devices has re-ignited the media industry.
"5G technology will further enhance the user experience, with increase in the speed of delivery and improvement in the quality of the media content," the minister said.
Thakur, however, also said that authenticity of content would always remain at the core, whatever be the technological progress.
"We can talk about the right to free flow of information, we also need to talk about the need for dissemination of correct information," he said.
Recalling the recent unprecedented display of Indian soft power via cinema at Cannes, Thakur said that Indian cinema ruled the hearts of millions across the world and had created an identity for India.
"This was evident in the way India's films got tremendous applause from film lovers in the festival. Churning out 3,000 releases, India produces highest number of films every year," Thakur said.
He further reiterated the incentives announced at Cannes, for promotion of film shooting in India.
He noted that it is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prioritise preservation and promotion of India's rich cultural heritage.
"To fulfill that vision, the Government has announced the World's largest film restoration project under National Film Heritage Mission. As part of this drive, more than 2,200 movies across languages and genres will be restored to their former glory. Preservation connects the generations and the new generations should know, acknowledge and imbibe the values that our forefathers cherished," Thakur said.
Thakur informed the audience about the celebration of 75 years of country's Independence from British rule and said that under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, we are re-living our historic morals, traditional values cultural ethos.
"Our young generation is becoming more aware of the sacrifices that our freedom fighters made for Independence," Thakur added.