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Featured Image: President Pranab Mukherjee speaking at the event at Rabindra Sadan in Kolkata on Friday.  

By A Newsman

Kolkata, 30 June: AT a time when an alarm is ringing across the country over the imposition of majority community’s cultural beliefs on others, President Pranab Mukherjee has stressed that coexistence of diverse opinions was the foundation for the progress of India.

“Numerous flowers of varying fragrance bloom in a garden. Similarly there will be diverse opinions in our society and the coexistence of them is the foundation for the progress and advancement of the society,” the President said while speaking at the start of bicentenary celebrations of publication of Bengali newspaper at Rabindra Sadan in the city today afternoon.

“A society that encourages free thoughts and nurtures an ambience for free debate, gets more enriched and developed,” he reminded the audience at the event organised by Kolkata Press Club.

President underscored that the news media and politics share an integral relationship like that of fish and water.

“One cannot survive without the other. Media is an indispensible part and parcel of political activities. Diverse opinions will be published in newspapers: there is no harm in it. Because in a multiparty democracy like India, there will be scores of opinions for sure,” he said.

President said that while media have always influenced and played an important role in democratic movements, the same have now increased by many folds.

“Because of social media, the influence has gone up by many folds. We are already experiencing the influence of social media in our daily life. To my mind, Internet is one of the greatest inventions that have enormously influenced our outlook and thoughts. People will now prefer to look up the Internet for information and data, rather than leaf through books,” he maintained.

Commenting on the bicentenary celebrations of Bengali newspaper publication, the President said that it was an extremely important event to start from Kolkata, because it was from here in the undivided Bengal that India’s first newspaper was published in 1780.

He unveiled a research based book detailing the evolution of Bengali newspapers and journalism over the past 200 years.  Governor KN Tripathi, and state panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee were present on the dais.