Not Time to Show Teeth But Time to Bite: VP Dhankhar

New Delhi, Nov 16: Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Thursday batted for “quick action” by the Press Council of India (PCI) against those deliberately spreading fake news, saying it is not the time to show teeth but a “time to bite” which must be strong.

He also said that credibility is the biggest challenge the media is facing today.

Addressing a National Press Day event here, Dhankhar said it is the moral duty of the media to tell the truth “and nothing but the truth”.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, Minister of State in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry L Murugan, PCI chairperson Justice (retd) Ranjana Prakash Desai were also present.

Expressing concern over fake and doctored news, Dhankhar said it has eroded the faith of the people in media.

He said the PCI should take “quick action” against those deliberately spreading fake news and compromising professional ethics.

“It is not the time to show teeth but a time to bite. And the bite must be strong because those who are serving with high ethical standards must be encouraged only by those not doing so being visited with exemplary consequences,” he asserted.

Dhankhar said it was in the self-interest of the media to be credible and trustworthy. “Time media realises that their audience is turning away from them,” he cautioned and described it as a “hard reality, a writing on the wall”.

Dhankhar said it is in the self-interest of the media to be credible and trustworthy.

“The writing on the wall should be clear to all concerned that fake news, deliberately fed wrong and mischievous information, political ambitions and preferences, tendency to play power brokers and monetary considerations have eroded people’s faith in the media. Actually, the expression ‘fake news’ has never been heard so loudly before as it is these days,” he said.

Credibility, Dhankhar felt, is the biggest challenge that the media is facing today.

“I put it as existential challenge. It is surprising that this aspect is being blissfully ignored,” he said.

Media organisations and media professionals must be doubly careful and alert before disseminating any information. “The ground reality today is indeed alarming and worrisome. The check takes place much after the damage has been done,” the vice president felt.

The role of editors, he noted, has become more challenging and important as they have to act as gatekeepers and remove any doctored and false information “before it poisons the sea of information”.

“It is paramount that journalists and media outlets uphold the highest standards of integrity,” he said.

Referring to the changing landscape, Dhankhar said media fraternity has been able to adapt to the myriad technological and socio-economic changes and navigate through multiple challenges brought about by these changes in the ecosystem.

In a world where information and communication are changing rapidly, it is vital for people to understand the profound impact of artificial intelligence (AI) upon the media landscape, the vice president said.

The advent of artificial intelligence, Dhankhar pointed out, has transformed the way we receive and consume news, information, and entertainment. AI has become an integral part of our daily lives, he said.

AI has the potential to streamline the news production process, enhance storytelling, and even personalize content to individual preferences, he said adding that “this is a double- edged weapon”.

“… it also brings its own set of challenges and ethical questions, such as the spread of misinformation at nuclear speed, deep fakes, creation of echo chambers and micro targeting of information to influence the democratic process and create chaos and instability in the societies,” he said.

Introduction of AI anchors and language models which are able to write media reports after collecting and collating information from multiple sources is threatening the jobs of hundreds and thousands, he said.

On this day in 1966, the PCI had started functioning. PTI

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