Calling upon the media to strike a balance between the positive and negative images portrayed by it, President Pratibha Devi Singh Patil kicked off the 62nd World Newspaper Congress, 16th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo 2009 at Hyderabad yesterday. Highlighting the broad and universal reach of the print media, she emphasised the need for supporting the small and medium newspapers.
"Small and medium newspapers, the existence of which are at stake in some regions due to many reasons including the interplay of market forces, have a role to play in building inclusive societies," she said. The President also urged the paper and printing industries to play a proactive role in climate change by adopting eco-friendly technologies.
The congress, which is being held for the first time in the sub-continent, began on a good note, at least for the Indian press fraternity. "India has recently surpassed China as the world's largest press market," said Gavin O'Reilly, president, World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), in his opening speech. The global situation of the newspaper industry, however, was still tough, he added.
This is the first time that the conference has been held in the sub-continent. This year's WAN Golden Pen of Freedom was given to Najam Sethi, who, until recently, was the editor-in-chief of Daily Times and Friday Times, Pakistan.
"Najam Sethi has managed to anger both the extremists and the government authorities merely by doing his job and this is at the heart of why WAN-IFRA is honouring him today with its Golden Pen of Freedom award," said Xavier Vidal-Folch, president, World Editors Forum, who presented the award.
The award was given during the opening ceremony. More than 900 publishers, chief editors and executives from newspapers are attending the event. The opening day saw two rigorous sessions on 'Newspaper: Multimedia growth business' and 'Future of Journalism v/s Future of Newspapers'.