From C K Nayak
NEW DELHI: Mass exodus of people of Northeast origin to their home states a year ago from several parts of the country following wrong use of social media was highlighted by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, who himself represents the region in the Parliament.
There is a question of a certain responsibility for social harmony and public order for the media Dr Singh said while inaugurating the state of the art National Media Centre in the presence of UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi and Union I & B Minister, Manish Tewari here on Saturday.
“I emphasise this particularly in the light of the social media revolution, which is rendering irrelevant the lines between a connected citizen and professional journalist. A mature and wise handling of this phenomenon is essential if we are to avoid situations like the one last year that befell upon many innocent souls who became victims of an online propaganda and were driven across the country back to their home states.”
Advising media to exercise caution, the Prime Minister said the spirit of inquiry must not morph into a “campaign of calumny” and “witch-hunt” is no substitute for investigative journalism. “The inauguration of the National Media Centre is not only about unveiling New Delhi’s latest landmark. This centre also showcases our ability to keep pace with similar state of the art facilities across the world. It symbolises the vibrant mood of the existing media landscape in our country,” Dr Singh said. He hoped the centre will fulfill the requirements of media persons as a communication hub and as a single window facility. “The National Media Centre is just the latest step in addressing the diverse communication needs of our country in the future,” Dr Singh said.
Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Sonia Gandhi said that in any society undergoing dramatic and rapid transformation there is need to renew and rebuild and the national media centre represents that evolution.
“I hope very much that it will become an effective nerve centre and an information bridge between the government, the media and the people,” she said.
This facility must meet the challenges posed by these new emerging channels and technologies because if not today then tomorrow they are certainly going to have a larger role in our society,” Gandhi said.
The new media centre is spread over 1.95 acres and is in proximity to Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament House.
The centre will have offices of the Press Information Bureau as well as facilities for media. It has a press conference hall for 283 media persons, a briefing room for about 60 persons, 24 work stations for journalists, a library, media lounge and cafeteria. The press conference hall and media lounge in the centre are wi-fi enabled.The Centre has been constructed by the National Buildings Construction Corporation at a cost of Rs 60 crore over a period of three years. Among the facilities provided at the centre are optic fibre internet backbone with redundancy, mini data centre for application development and hosting webcast, including live webcast, Video feed to TV channels, IT facilities to media persons in work area and lounge, Internet telephony and AV Video Wall. The Centre was initially conceptualised by the PIB in 1989.