Tag Archives: Mohd. Hamid Ansari

Free media, a necessity in a free society: Ansari


Vice President Hamid Ansari, AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi, and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during the release of National Herald’s commemorative publication, “70 years of India’s Independence” on Monday. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi, and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah during the release of National Herald’s commemorative publication, “70 years of India’s Independence” on Monday. Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Bengaluru :

Vice President Mohammand Hamid Ansari, on Monday, said a free media is not only beneficial but also a necessity in a free society and any attack on press freedom will result in jeopardising citizens’ rights.

Mr. Ansari, who launched National Herald’s commemorative publication – “70 years of India’s Independence” – in the presence of All India Congress Committee Vice President Rahul Gandhi at a function here, said the State should not impede the free flow of information.

When faced with unjust restrictions and the threat of attack, self-censorship in the media could have the opposite effect, aiding the covering up of abuses and fostering frustration among marginalised communities.

Mr. Ansari also said the Constitutional framework provided for required intervention by the State to ensure smooth working of the press and society; but the laws state that it should only be in the interest of the public at large. “The media, if it is to remain true to its calling, has to do likewise. In an open society like ours, we need a responsible press to hold power to account. This is why freedom of press under Article 19 (1)(A) of the Constitution is subject only to reasonable restrictions in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, public order, decency, contempt of court, defamation and incitement to an offence.”

The Supreme Court has held that ‘freedom of speech and of the press is the Ark of the Covenant of Democracy’ because public criticism is essential to the working of its institutions. In this age of ‘post-truths’ and ‘alternative facts’ where ‘advertorials’ and ‘response features’ edge-out editorials, “we would do well to recall Jawaharlal Nehru’s vision of the press playing its role of a watchdog in democracy and look at the ethos and principles that powered his journalism.”

Noting that Nehru, who started National Herald newspaper, believed that media was a pillar of democracy, Mr. Ansari said he envisioned a free, unfettered and honest press. “Nehru watched over the interests of media persons in independent India.”

The Working Journalists Act, which tried to give a degree of protection to journalists, to ensure freedom of press, was largely Nehru’s doing.” However, the Act, I believe, is now in disuse, and short term contracts, that make journalists beholden to the ‘preferred lines’ of the publications, are in vogue.”

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said it was heartening to note that the Associated Journals Ltd. is reviving National Herald by launching its English website and resuming phased publication as a multi-media outlet, focusing primarily on a news presence in digital form.

source: http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> States> Karnataka / by Special Correspondent / Bengaluru – June 12th, 2017

Ansari warns of public despair fuelled by inequality


Vice-President Hamid Ansari at the inaugural session of The Huddle in Bengaluru on Friday.
Vice-President Hamid Ansari at the inaugural session of The Huddle in Bengaluru on Friday.

Gap between rich and poor is not narrowing, he says at The Huddle

Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Friday called attention to the increasing economic inequality worldwide, particularly in India with all its social and political consequences, and noted that protest movements globally are being fuelled by public despair.

Delivering the inaugural address, titled ‘Living in Febrile Times’, at The Huddle, a three-day conclave of ideas, he said, “We need to ask ourselves some uncomfortable questions. Can we just accept the growing insularity, intolerance and discrimination?”

Noting that the gap between the rich and poor shows no sign of narrowing, Mr. Ansari suggested that the situation demands impatience with business-as-usual development policies. “Perhaps the time has come,” he said, “to move the development discourse beyond the current discussion of outcomes and opportunities. A conceptual framework is provided by Amartya Sen and others who see human capabilities as the capacity and freedom to choose and to act; and calls for opportunities that give individuals the freedom to pursue a life of their own choosing to be equalised.” He linked such a compact back to the Preamble to the Constitution and cited the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report of 2017 to frame the dangers of failing to bridge income inequality: the rise of populism. In India, he pointed out, the richest 1% have claim to 60% of the country’s wealth, and the bottom 50% to 2%. “Rising inequality is seen as a contributing cause for the rise of authoritarian leaders, often with a divisive agenda fuelled by sectarianism, xenophobia and nationalism,” he said.

Rising inequality results in conflict, and threatens the stability of democracies. Surveying protests worldwide such as the Occupy Movement and the Arab Spring, he highlighted the Naxalite issue: “The growing threat of left extremism, which has been repeatedly acknowledged as the gravest security threat to [the] Indian state, has its roots in economic deprivation and inequality in access to resources.”

Calling for equity in development, Mr. Ansari cautioned against writing off inequity as an “inconvenient truth” in the quest for a “shining future”. He counselled a rethink on the trickle down model of growth, and cost-benefit analysis of the environmental impact of “our material progress” – as well as an appraisal of India’s investment in human capital and public goods.

Equity is integral to justice and fairness, he said, and went on to ask the ‘uncomfortable question’: “Are conflicts and human suffering the new normal? To what extent are they induced by failed ventures in [the] quest for unrealisable utopias?”

Earlier having made a passing reference to the age of “post-truths” and “alternate facts”, Mr. Ansari’s was in total a plea to see the complete picture: not just the rising incomes of many, but also the rising inequality in wealth and income; not just the number of people lifted out of abject poverty, but also “the majority of people on the planet today… in countries where economic disparities are bigger than they were a generation ago.”

source:  http://www.thehindu.com / The Hindu / Home> News> National / by Special Correspondent / February 11th, 2017

Vice-President Hamid Ansari releases Darda’s book

New Delhi :

Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday released senior Congress MP Vijay Darda’s book ‘Public Issues Before Parliament’.

The book catalogues public issues that Darda has raised through his two-decade-long parliamentary career, making skilful use of parliamentary devices: interventions which often drew effective responses from the government.

Those present at the book launch included noted constitutional expert Fali S Nariman, minister for heavy industries Praful Patel , minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah and Lok Janshakti Party leader Ramvilas Paswan.

Herro K Mustafa, minister counselor for public affairs in the US embassy in New Delhi, and Silvia Costantini, first counselor, political affairs in the delegation of European Union, were also present.

source: http://www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com / The Times of India / Home> India / TNN / February 20th, 2014

Quality Education At All Levels Is Critical: Ansari


Echoing the concerns of various stakeholders at the valedictory function was Vice-President Mohd. Hamid Ansari. He pointed to the fact that India would have one of the youngest populations in the world in six years. “It is estimated that by 2020, the average Indian will be only 29 years of age, compared with 37 in China and US, 45 in Western Europe and 48,” he said at the concluding session of the ThinkEdu Conclave.

Hence, at the centre of all efforts to create a knowledge-based society should be provision of high quality relevant education for all at the primary, secondary and higher levels, including professional, technical and vocational education. Any shortcomings or failure in the effort could transform the potential ‘demographic dividend’ into a possible nightmare, of a ticking demographic time-bomb, with all its economic, social and economic consequences, he warned.

Posing three queries on the status of education in India, the vice-president quoted official reports highlighting the declining quality at all levels due to poor infrastructure, poor curricula and poor teacher and teaching quality. He saw far-reaching correctives in the sector, including introduction of holistic education, carried out in a time-bound manner as the only solution to the malady.

In the Vice-President’s view, holistic education drew its relevance from the need to address to challenges such globalisation, materialism, consumerism, commercialisation of education and other threats due to climate change, environmental degradation and terrorism. “It is essentially an education concerned with both individual freedom and social responsibility,” he said.

Ansari called for the cooperation and support of parents, guardians and community members to make the endeavour a success.

source: http://www.newindianexpress.com / The Sunday Standard / Home / by The  Express News Service / February 02nd, 2014