Asserting that the din of the "breaking news syndrome" has consumed the media, President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said fake news has emerged as a new menace whose purveyors proclaim themselves as journalists and taint the noble profession.
The fundamental principle of restraint and responsibility has been undermined substantially in the din of the breaking news syndrome, he said while addressing a gathering at the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism awards ceremony here.
Kovind said old timers would recall the magical touchstone of five Ws and H (what, when, why, where, who and how) whose answers were essential for a story to qualify as a news report.
"Fake news has emerged a new menace, whose purveyors proclaim themselves as journalists and taint this noble profession," he said.
The president said that journalists tend to wear many hats in the line of their duty.
"These days, they often assume the role of an investigator, a prosecutor and a judge – all rolled into one," he said.
Kovind said it requires a great deal of inner strength and incredible passion for journalists to play so many roles at a time to arrive at truth.
"Their versatility is praiseworthy. But that prompts me to ask if such a sweeping exercise of power is accompanied by genuine accountability?" he asked.
Kovind said stories exposing great social and economic inequalities are ignored, and their place is taken by trivia.
"Instead of helping promote scientific temper, some run after irrational practices in their search for eyeballs and ratings," he said.