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Mohali, December 9: Asserting that his government was against any kind of media censorship, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singhon Saturday reiterated his commitment to providing level playing field to all media organisations, while making it clear that he would not stop the screening of the controversial film ‘Padmavati’ in the state.

In his inaugural address at the National Meet organised by The Tribune Employees Union Chandigarh under the auspices of the Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees’ Organisation, the Chief Minister categorically rejected the threats against the makers of ‘Padmavati’ as wrong, and said the concerned state government should have acted against those issuing such threats. “Such people should have been locked up,” he stressed.

It’s a free country, with free business opportunity for all, he said, but added that it was, at the same time, the responsibility of the producers to ensure that history is projected in its correct perspective. While different historical perspectives can be there, any attempt to completely falsify historical facts cannot be tolerated, he added. This, said Captain Amarinder, becomes even more necessary in the current age when children acquire knowledge through the audio-visual medium rather than by reading.

As far as Punjab was concerned, there would be no bar on the release of ‘Padmavati’, said the Chief Minister, adding that anything can be shown in Punjab as long as it does not hurt religious sentiments.

Referring to the restrictions imposed on the media by the previous government in Punjab, Captain Amarinder said his government did not believe in such censorship and would immediately clear the formalities for any media organisation wishing to operate in the state. ”We want competition to grow so people get news as they should be getting it,” he added.

Captain Amarinder urged the media, with which he said he had always shared a warm relationship, to play a far more proactive role in espousing the cause of the freedom of press for the overall development of the society. He exhorted journalists to discharge their duties fearlessly and responsibly, with utmost sincerity and honesty, without any bias.

Citing the progress made in the media over the years, the Chief Minister said its role and importance had grown manifold and it was their responsibility to ensure that information and news are disseminated to the people in a fair manner.

Underlining the need for the media to present the government’s case in the right perspective, Captain Amarinder expressed the hope they would understand and appreciate Punjab’s problems and paint the correct picture for their readers and audiences. Pointing out that his government had inherited a huge financial mess, which it was trying to address in order to put the state back on the road to development, Captain Amarinder urged the journalists to ensure that they put the state’s problems and the government’s efforts in the correct perspective. He urged the journalists to present his government’s case to the people fairly.

Captain Amarinder spoke about the challenges faced by the media as a result of the emergence of the social media, stressing the need for the new medias to give the right stories, and the right history lessons to students in universities.

He congratulated the Confederation of Journalists Associations for bringing a large number of journalists, from across the country, on this platform to discuss the problems being faced by the fraternity, besides sharing their experiences to further improve their reporting and other skills.

He assured the journalists’ unions that the State government was always open to their genuine demands and would continue to facilitate them in the smooth and fair discharge of their duties, in an environment free of fear.

At the onset of the two-day national meet, a two-minute silence was observed in the memory of mediapersons who laid their lives in the line of duty. Captain Amarinder Singh, along with other dignitaries, lit a lamp to mark the inaugural ceremony of meet and also released a souvenir on the occasion.

Prominent amongst others who were present on the occasion were Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, Advisor BIS Chahal, MLA Mohali Balbir Singh Sidhu, General Secretary of Confederation of newspapers and news agencies association of India MS Yadav besides the president and general secretary of The Tribune Employees Union Anil Gupta and Balwinder Jammu.

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