Fake news a plague for our society: I&B Minister Anurag Thakur

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur expressed his concern over the spread of fake news which is a threat to our society.

Gracing the 40th Foundation Day of Odisha’s leading media conglomerate ‘Sambad’ at Swosti Premium Hotel here today, he talked about the deadly consequences of fake news. He compared the fake news with a fatal disease plague.

“As we look at the media landscape today, we cannot ignore the growing concern of fake news which continues to be a plague for our society,” he said.

He said that this was the highlight at a UN meeting he attended as the Information and Broadcasting Minister after the Covid-19 pandemic where the majority of representatives from various parts of the world said the infodemic was more harmful than the pandemic.

“Spreading fake news has taken more lives than the Covid-19 pandemic,” he stated.

Speaking about Sambad on completing its remarkable journey of 39 years, he congratulated everyone for their efforts behind it to make the newspaper a household name in Odisha. He acknowledged the role of vernacular media in development of a society.

“The significance of regional newspapers cannot be overlooked. Newspapers like Sambad provide information that tell us the specific needs and interest of the people. World is becoming increasingly interconnected and Sambad is acting as a bridge between the local community and the broader world,” Thakur stressed.

On pressure that a newspaper goes through for raising a specific issue, he said that no power can suppress the voice of media.

“When you claim yourself as the No.1 newspaper, you will face a few challenges, that may come from the government or society. You need to fight against those challenges. That’s why media is considered as the fourth pillar of the democracy. When former PM Indira Gandhi failed to suppress the voice of media during Emergency, who will dominate media today? Let’s take Sambad to every nook and corner of Odisha and if possible, to every nook and corner of the country. Today with use of technology, you cannot limit within boundaries of India, but you can cut across the boundaries and go to any part of the world online,” he said.

He expressed his gratitude to Sambad for serving the nation for last 40 years.

The newly-appointed Editor of Sambad, Tanaya Patnaik, shared her thoughts on assuming the new charge in the media house. She said that Sambad is like her family member, which is with her since her birth.

“I was born when Sambad was 5-year-old. Since that period, the presence of Sambad is like all my family members in my life. Sambad is with me since the day when I was not even in a stage to recognise its identity, whether it was an individual or an organisation or a newspaper. Officially, I joined the Sambad Group in the year 2010. I started my work from Radio Choklate. I got the opportunity to work with different wings of Sambad — Kanak News and Sambad Digital — in the past 13 years. Yesterday, I took the charge as the Editor of Sambad. Truly speaking, I had never imagined this day will come so early. After I received tons of messages from people, my confidence increased by 1000 times more,” she stated.

Recollecting her father Soumya Ranjan Patnaik’s contribution, she said that her father, the founder of Sambad, had given birth to Sambad. He put his blood and sweat into raising the organisation. Today, Sambad is not only a newspaper, but also a revolution, an idea, a sentiment and a campaign.

She stressed the sole duty of the media, which is to connect people with people.

“Today, the leadership might have changed, but the fundamental principles followed by my father has not changed. We have been connecting people with people, it is on, and we are committed to continue it in future,” Patnaik said.

Speaking at the event, Union Education and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan welcomed the change in guard in Sambad.

“A transition happens suddenly. A change is always good. The editorship changed in Sambad over an issue. Now, a new idea will be born,” he said.

Targeting the state government over its ‘vindictive’ attitude in administration, he said, “In democracy, there might be difference of opinions, there might be criticism, but we should not cross our limits. We need to pay respect to each other’s views.”

Sambad Group’s Managing Director Monica Nayyar Patnaik welcomed the guests and audience at the event.

Addressing the function, she said, “Sambad Group has become No.1 media house in the state because of only one reason. Because of the love, warmth and wishes that you have given to us. It is not only in 1984 when the Sambad was started, it is just the journey which was taken over and made it in the media and entertainment industry not only in the state, but also in the country people reckon to Sambad Group a No.1 media house having all the 360 degree verticals.”

“In Odisha, not only with Sambad, Kanak News, Radio Choklate 104 FM, we are also participating in digital forum which is the next best thing for the media and entertainment,” she stated.

Editor (Features) Gourahari Das gave the welcome address and presented a brief journey to the audience in the jam-packed hall.

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