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The sole aim of journalism should be service. The newspaper press is a great power, but just as an unchained torrent of water submerges whole country sides and devastates crops, even so an uncontrolled pen serves but to destroy. If the control is from without, it proves more poisonous than want of control. It can be profitable only when exercised from within. If this line of reasoning is correct, how many of the journals in the world would stop those that are useless? And who should be the judge? The useful and the useless must, like good and evil, go on together, and man must make his choice.
An Autobiography, p. 287
The superficiality, the one-sidedness, the inaccuracy and often even dishonesty that have crept into modern journalism, continuously mislead honest men who want to see nothing but justice done.
Young India, 12-5-20
I have before me extracts from journals containing some gruesome things. There is communal incitement, gross misrepresentation and incitement to political violence bordering on murder. It is of course easy enough for the Government to launch out prosecutions or to pass repressive ordinances. These fail to serve the purpose intended expect very temporarily, and in no case do they convert the writers, who often take to secret propaganda, when the open forum of the press is denied to them.
The real remedy is healthy public opinion that will refuse to patronize poisonous journals. We have our journalists’ Association. Why should it not create a department whose business it would be to study the various journals and find objectionable articles and bring them to the notice of the respective editors? The function of the department will be confined to the establishment of contact with the offending journals and public criticism of offending articles where the contact fails to bring about the desired reform. Freedom of the press is a precious privilege that no country can forego. But if there is, as there should be, no legislative check save that of the mildest character, an internal, check such as I have suggested should not be impossible and ought not to be resented.
Young India, 28-5-31
I hold that it is wrong to conduct newspaper by the aid of… immoral advertisements. I do believe that if advertisements should be taken at all there should be a rigid censorship instituted by newspaper proprietors and editors themselves and that only healthy advertisements should be taken…. The evil of immoral advertisements is overtaking even what are known as the most respectable newspapers and magazines. That evil has to be combated by refining the conscience of the newspaper proprietors and editors. That refinement can come not through the influence of an amateur editor like myself but it will come when their own conscience is roused to recognition of the growing evil or when it is super-imposed upon them by a Government representing the people and caring for the people’s morals.
Young India, 25-3-26
My plea is for due regard for truth in advertising. It is a habit with people….to treat the printed word in a book or a newspaper as gospel truth. There is need, therefore, extreme caution in drawing up advertisements. Untruths are most dangerous.