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`Time for socio-economic reforms'

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Keep it fair, Buddhadeb tells media; BL launched in Kolkata


IN INTELLECTUAL CITY: The Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, unveiling the Kolkata edition of Business Line on Thursday. Also present are (from left): Mr N. Murali, Managing Director, Kasturi and Sons, publishers of the Hindu Group of Publications; Mr B. Muthuraman, Managing Director, Tata Steel; Mr N. Ram, Editor in-Chief, The Hindu; and Mr K. Venugopal, Joint Editor, Business Line. — A. Roy Chowdhury

Kolkata , Oct. 26

The West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, today urged the media to uphold the principles of objectivity, neutrality, independence and ethics to serve society better.

"While freedom of the press is the foundation of any democratic society, the media should also be attuned to the basic needs of the larger sections of society," Mr Bhattacharjee said, while launching the Kolkata edition of Business Line here on Thursday. "The print media must retain its identity from the electronic media," he observed.

"The Hindu newspaper group", he said, "has a special place in Indian journalism for adhering to the fundamental ethics of journalism and thus promoting the cause of a civil society."

The Chief Minister, however, lamented that the Press was not free even in countries claiming to be free. He criticised the role of a section of the western media, which "manufactured" stories to confuse its own countrymen, and cited the examples of the reports in many western countries on the US invasion of Iraq and the Israeli action against Lebanon.

"The people in these countries now realise that something is wrong with the policies of their Governments," he said, adding that the media must not serve the interest of war-mongers, the ruling classes and any particular section of society.

Reservations opposed

Mr Bhattacharjee opposed reservations, saying that such a policy pursued since Independence did not do any good to those for whom it was meant. "What is needed is socio-economic reforms, particularly land reforms, as communal and castiest politics is not going to benefit the common people," he said.

He also laid stress on the need for protecting the multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural identity of our society. "How could a section of media support the demolition of the Babri Masjid and Advani's Ratha-yatra?" he wondered.

Complimenting the Hindu Group for launching the Kolkata edition of Business Line (the paper's fourteenth edition), the Chief Minister expressed the hope that, with the newspaper now becoming available in the morning, a long-felt need of local trade and industry would be fulfilled.

West Bengal was now poised for a big leap forward in industrialisation and had now come to be included among the five top States in the country. The FDI flow into the State was being conducted on mutually beneficial terms.

"West Bengal is set to witness a much larger growth and hopefully Business Line will effectively serve the corporate sector of the State," he said. He requested Mr N Ram, Editor-in Chief of the Hindu Group of publications, to consider launching the Kolkata edition of The Hindu.

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