Journalists are called to speak truth to the powerless against the powers that be, said Hon. Justice Devan Ramachandran of the Kerala High Court while inaugurating the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA) in John Barrett Nagar (Ashirbhavan Pastoral Centre of the Archdiocese of Verapoly) in Ernakulam on Friday, September 22.
In his inaugural address, Justice Ramachandran said it is imperative to think whether truth is being spoken, adding that it “is the question”. He told ICPA delegates, the invited guests and the journalists from the religious and secular media, “You are expected to speak truth to the people.”
Quoting Noam Chomsky, Justice Ramachandran said the people in power know the truth and they want to conceal it. He also alluded to Hans Christian Anderson’s Emperor’s New Clothes to drive home the point that the powers that be do not want to suppress the truth.
A stool with three legs is unstable and only a fourth leg can strengthen it. So, the fourth estate is important to strengthen democracy, said the Chief Guest. “You are strengthening journalism and here is where you are important.”
He said the judiciary is there to have checks and measures on the unbridled powers given to elected representatives. But without journalists, what we do never comes to people, he added.
Justice Ramachandran also invited journalists to introspect and find out if they are active in pursuing the truth.
The other dignitaries included His Grace Archbishop Joseph Kalathiparambil of Verapoly, Dr Sebastian Paul, veteran journalist and former Member of Parliament and Dr Milon Franz, principal of St Xavier’s College for Women, Aluva. The dignitaries were welcomed with a ‘usable shawl’ and a copy of ‘Christianity’s Contribution In The Shaping of Modern India’ by Joseph Anthony Gathia and Sanjay Valentine Gathia by President of ICPA and veteran journalist Mr Ignatius Gonsalves. Also present on the dais were the Association’s Secretary Dr Suresh Mathew OFM Cap. and Bishop Henry D’Souza of Bellary, the Ecclesiastical Advisor of ICPA.
In his presidential address, Mr Gonsalves paid homage to the founder of the Association Fr Barrett and other luminaries such as Fr Louis Vyppissery, Fr George Veliparambil, Fr John Vallamattom and Fr Varghese Alengaden. ICPA delegates, journalists from the secular and Catholic media, and members of religious congregations took part in the inaugural event. During the ceremony, major benefactors who contributed to the event were honoured and it was followed by a cultural extravaganza showcasing the culture and ethos of Kerala.