Speaking at the 75th anniversary celebrations of Daily Thanthi newspaper at the Madras University, Prime Minister Modi said, "A lot of media discourse today revolves around politics. However, India is more than just us, the politicians. It's the 125 crore Indians, who make India what it is. I would be happy to see that media focuses a lot more on their stories and achievements."
He also asked the media to take a lead in the battle against climate change.
"Natural calamities seem to be occurring with increasing frequency across the world. Can media take a lead in the battle against climate change? Can media devote just a little space to report or increase awareness about what we can do to combat climate change?" the Prime Minister asked.
The Prime Minister advised the media not to misuse its powers as it's a criminal act.
"Editorial freedom must be used wisely in public interest. Freedom to write does not include the freedom to be factually incorrect. Mahatma Gandhi said that 'the press is called the Fourth Estate. It is definitely a power, but, to misuse that power is criminal'," the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also said media is very important and a mean of transforming society.
"In a broader context, media is a mean of transforming society. That is why we refer to the media as the fourth pillar of democracy. Today, newspapers do not just give news. They can also mould our thinking and open a window to the world," Prime Minister Modi said.
The Prime Minister's advice to media coincides with the recent expose by a newspaper about the alleged off-shore bank accounts of various Indians.
He said that the British rule in India used to muzzle the voice of people by suppressing the newspapers.
"The then British government was fearful of the Indian vernacular press. It was to muzzle vernacular newspapers, that the Vernacular Press Act was enacted in 1878. The role of newspapers published in regional languages remains as important today, as it was then," said Prime Minister Modi in his speech.
Veteran actor Rajinikanth, who is speculated to enter into politics, was also present in the audience.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Chennai on a day-long visit. Upon landing in the city on Monday, Prime Minister Modi discussed with Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam the rain and flood-like situation in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu.(ANI)