Srinagar: Speaking at the launch of the News18 Network’s brand new News channel, Honourable Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said the launch of the News18 Jammu Kashmir Ladakh Himachal on the 75th year of Independence, was a big feat in the media industry.
A statement of News18 issued here quoted the LG at the launch of the News18 Jammu Kashmir Ladakh Himachal as saying, “There are 392 news channels in the country, which is even more than the United States of America which has close to 100 channels, this speaks volume of the freedom of the media and true nature of democracy in India.”
He said: “This also shows the importance of the fourth pillar of democracy. I also welcome the initiative of Network18 to reach people in three more languages. I have been told that Network18 has already been presenting news in 15 languages and I am hopeful that it will strive to include all regional languages.”
Commenting on the role of media, LG Sinha said, “Whether it is highlighting developmental work, campaigning against corruption or promoting economic and social awareness, the media has played an immensely important role, which I have seen very closely.”
“Directly or indirectly, the media has played an important role and has provided a platform for a wider vision and approach. In the public office, I welcome the scrutiny by the media, especially reports which are based on fact, not only improves governance but also strengthens the democratic institutions,” he said.
Remembering the independence struggle, the LG said, “There have been numerous occasions since independence when the media through good reporting and balanced reporting has changed the public opinion and helped the nation. It has also helped unmask those who used to work against the nation due to vested interests. On this AmritMahotsav, I would also like to admit that whenever there has been a crisis or a challenge to the integrity of the nation, the media has played a very important role.”
He said: “If you look at the independence struggle, there have been several journalists who helped create awareness for the nation. On August 8th, 1942, Mahatama Gandhi gave the call for the Quit India movement, and by 9th August every Indian from every nook and corner of the country came on the roads in protest against the Britishers.”
“I believe that an aware media is very important, because only then can a successful democracy sustain itself because the media also acts as a watchdog. I am a true supporter of freedom of speech, but we must all also remember that when the Constitution of India was being prepared, all Indians were given the right of freedom of expression under 19 (1), but 19 (2) also put in some restrictions which I believe are not just restrictions, and but duties. We need to remember the fine line between the freedom of expression, and the expression that hurts the nation. The Constitution mentions the rights of every individual, but it also mentions our duties. The problem arises, when people only talk about their rights and forget their duties,” LG Sinha said.
Speaking on global reports on freedom of expression in India, he said, “The flourishing landscape of media in India is an example that media is much freer in India than in any other country in the world. Today, there is propaganda that there is no freedom of expression in India and I want to highlight this today. In the last year, 27 journalists were detained in the United States of America, 51 in China, and 25 in Turkey. But in India, only seven journalists were detained. Those detained in India were charged with propagating fake news and these are not my numbers or the number of the Indian government, but those available internationally.”
Highlighting the changes in J&K, LG Sinha said, “Today there has been a massive change in Jammu and Kashmir and while this change should be looked into, I believe that its foundation was laid in the Parliament on August 5, 2019.”
He said: “When we decided to celebrate Independence Day in schools, people argued that it had never happened before, but today not only is Independence Day being celebrated in schools but every home. There was a time when people used to say that we won't find people to wave the Tricolour, but today we are proud to say that we have so many people come to us that it became difficult to provide everyone with a flag.”
The LG said that the slow pace of development no longer mars J&K with the roads being made at the rate of 20 km per day.
“Malls, towers, and hotels are coming up in J&K, along with several international firms showing interest to invest here. An approximate Rs 56,000 crore worth of development works are in line today, and while once people had to run from pillar to post to get documents, J&K is today No 1 in e-governance compared to union territories and 5th when compared to states,” he said.
LG Sinha said, “There was a time when services were only available to some people, but today these services are available for all. The administration today is not just restricted to Jammu and Srinagar, but in other areas as well. Today the youth of J&K is focused on up-skilling themselves rather than taking up guns.”
He said that in today’s J&K, rules were being made to empower the farmers and it is because of this that the income of the farmers today is No 3 in the country, after Punjab and Haryana.
Commenting on tourism, the LG said, “Today J&K has the lowest VAT on air fuel and we are proud to say that it has helped J&K increase tourism. Almost 1.16 crore people came to Kashmir in the last year, something that was previously unheard of. Rather, finding a hotel room is a bigger problem in Kashmir.”
He said that there were three medical institutes, AIIMs and medical colleges, 213 critical care ambulances, and an assurance that an ambulance within 30 minutes anywhere in J&K and those who had sacrificed for J&K to reach the present condition were also being remembered.
The statement said that Network18 Group is a media and entertainment group with interests in broadcasting, digital, movies, e-commerce, magazines, mobile content, and allied businesses. TV18 Broadcast Limited [BSE: 532800, NSE: TV18BRDCST] is the broadcasting arm of Network18. TV18 operates India’s largest bouquet of News channels across 15 languages and 26 states; with marquee properties like CNBC-TV18 in Business News and CNN News18 in English News. Through its JV Viacom18, it also operates a portfolio of entertainment channels across genres, including leading premium local and global brands like Colors, Nickelodeon, and MTV. Viacom18 also operates OTT platform VOOT and produces and distributes films through Viacom18 Motion Pictures. Through TV18, the network operates a bouquet of 13 regional news channels under the News18 brand name. TV18 also operates a joint venture with the Lokmat Group which houses the Marathi news channel News18 Lokmat. To cover the global audience & sizable NRI population, TV18 operates News18, a twenty-four-hour television news channel designed to give global audiences a window into the world’s largest democracy. TV18’s Infotainment JV AETN18 operates History TV18 and distribution and syndication JV Indiacast complete the bouquet of offerings, making TV18 a full-portfolio broadcast player. Through 'Network18 Media and Investments Ltd.' [BSE: 532798, NSE: Network18], the group operates its digital, publishing, and e-commerce assets including moneycontrol.com, news18.com, cnbctv18.com, and firstpost.com. Network18 has a significant interest in e-commerce property, bookmyshow.com, and also publishes Forbes India, the nation's first local edition of a foreign news magazine in collaboration with Forbes Media. In addition, the group operates Network18 Publishing, a player in the special interest publishing space, which publishes magazines such as Overdrive, Better Photography, and Better Interiors. 'Network18' also has strategic investments in Yatra, Colosceum, Topper, 24X7 Learning, and Ubona.