India

News and views should never be combined, says Venkaiah Naidu

News and views should never be combined, says Venkaiah Naidu
Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and NCP chief Sharad Pawar at the event. (Express photo by Praveen Khanna)

Decrying the idea of politicians starting their own media houses “to defend themselves and offend others”, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday called for keeping journalism separate.

He was addressing a gathering after conferring Lokmat parliamentary awards on eight people. “News and views should never be combined,” he said, insisting that only news should go on front pages of newspapers and the views could occupy the editorial page. He described “paid news” and “fake news” as a “reality in India” and felt that information “without confirmation” was dangerous.

Naidu said the institution of parliamentary awards was a “noble idea”. This made his job “easier” because awards inspired MPs to perform better. He lauded NCP president Sharad Pawar for having never come to the Well of a House. He said C Rajgopalachari had said, “If you are not well on facts, go to the Well of the House.”

Naidu took note of the fact that the awardees had been selected on the basis of participation in debates, questions, attendance, piloting private members’ Bills and overall image. He said MPs should bring private Bills because they help mobilise public opinion on a subject.

The awardees included SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, TMC MP Saugata Roy, NCP MP Supriya Sule, BJP MP Bharati Praveen Pawar, DMK MP Tiruchi Siva, Congress MP Viplov Thakur and JD (U) MP Kahkashan Perween. They were selected by a jury headed by NCP chief Sharad Pawar.