"The media has and must play an important role to play in cleansing public life. However, to undertake this role, the conduct of the media itself should be above board," the president said at the golden jubilee celebrations of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
"Sensationalism should not become a substitute for objective reporting. Gossip and speculation should never replace hard facts. Political or commercial interests should not be passed off as legitimate and independent opinion," he added.
"Journalists must be keepers of the conscience of our country they must shape and influence public opinion in India and provide objective, balanced coverage of news."
Mukherjee acknowledged the role of the press in India's freedom struggle as well as its struggle to free society from social prejudice.
"The history of journalism in India is closely linked to the history of our freedom struggle," said Mukherjee as he pointed out freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, who were all journalists.
"Indian journalists have fought not just for the freedom of the press but also for the freedom of our nation and to free society from social prejudice, casteism, discrimination...," the president added.
Mukherjee called upon journalists to continue to uphold the glorious traditions set by their predecessors.
--IANS (Posted on 31-08-2013)