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Rajasekhara Reddy regrets sensationalism in press reports

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, FEB. 22. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, expressed his anguish in the Andhra Pradesh Assembly today at some of the reportage in the print and electronic media bordering on ``sensationalism.'' But he singled out and praised The Hindu , which, he said, continued to enjoy credibility.

Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor for his address, Dr. Reddy said he had always treated the press with a lot of respect as he considered it one of the four pillars of democracy. Unfortunately, some of the recent writings had become sensational. Maybe, it was for boosting sales or readership figures, but newspapers should think of the impact such reports would have on their credibility.

People believed whatever appeared in print, especially if the ``stories'' went with reporters' bylines. If such stories carried untruths they were bound to lose credibility. Citing the example of the former Prime Ministers, Rajiv Gandhi and P.V. Narasimha Rao, he said they had to endure allegations of corruption for over a decade till the courts cleared their names.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister then referred to the coverage given to the partly-burnt body of Narasimha Rao, especially in the vernacular press and the electronic media. He read out some of the headlines and wondered whether such coverage was justified, when the facts were otherwise.

He said that for a section of the media whatever was done by the previous Government was good and everything appeared bad now. Dr. Reddy narrated an instance of an obese but active person being asked by his friend if he had problems of blood pressure and diabetes. The ``fat man'' responded in the negative. When the friend asked him to reveal the secret of his healthy life, pat came the reply: ``I read The Hindu every morning.'' Such was the credibility of this newspaper. It had a long history.

The Chief Minister appealed to the media to be rational and objective and cross-check the facts before publishing.

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