SPEECH - 8th ANNIVERSARY OF THE INDIAN TELEGRAPH - THURSDAY, 19 MARCH 2015

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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and Namaste.

I think I speak for everyone, Karthik, when I say thank you for having us at this amazing function. It is not only entertaining for our senses but it is an occasion when everyone is deeply honoured to be here.

Your Excellency, the Consul-General, Inder, Karthik, Cheryl, all the writers, all the staff, the photographers, marketing, printing, and advertisers - it’s wonderful to join you on this most auspicious occasion.

 

When I visited India for the first time last year, I came to understand the importance of the print media even in a country of over a billion people. I was getting a sari that had been made up delivered to my hotel. The hotel lobby called me and said a delivery had arrived for me. The day before I had been at a reception with the BJP and an article had appeared in one of the many publications in New Delhi. I met the delivery boy, said thank you, gave him a tip, and he said,”Oh, I know you. You’re the politician from Australia!” I asked him, “How do you know?” He said “I saw you in the paper today.” So it really does say something about the power of the print media.

Tonight we are celebrating the importance of the Fourth Estate. This is an issue that has been so topical in Parliament this past week, everything from journalist shield laws and even definitions of who is a journalist, to also cross-media ownership laws. Tonight, we acknowledge the contribution of journalism and specifically the contribution of the Indian Telegraph. But we also acknowledge the business acumen, the entrepreneurial drive, and the family support that has gone to this enterprise.

The Indian Telegraph is a quality publication. In an age where we have such a high amount of user-generated content, so much competition, a publication such as yours only stays relevant and only survives if it adapts and if it evolves. And we know that you have done that, not only through your embracing of technology, but also through your rebranding as we’ve seen today.

I want to say something about the importance the Indian Telegraph plays in the public debate. So often the Indian Telegraph has been at the forefront of issues that we know are important that haven’t made the mainstream media. I applaud the Indian Telegraph for taking such a strong role in defending the protections in the Racial Discrimination Act against racist hate speech. You were so forceful in that. You also led the way discussion appeared in the mainstream media about our Sikh community being wrongly targeted with horrible anti-Islamic sentiment. When we hear about young Islamic girls being taunted by people for wearing Islamic headwear. You were at the forefront of that in your reporting, and it took months for the mainstream media to catch up to it.

Ladies and gentlemen, so often when we hear politicians, stakeholders, and media moguls discussing the media they rarely talk about consumers. That is unlike your publication. You are entirely focused on your readership but also on the community whom you serve.

On this wonderful occasion I want to conclude by congratulating the Indian Telegraph on its 8th anniversary, for your rebranding, and I think it is so appropriate that we are doing this on the eve of Harmony Day as well.

 

Thank you very much.

 

ENDS