Independent journalism was instrumental to the democratic development of Russian society, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday. \"Active, independent, fearless journalism is in need today more than ever,\" Putin said in his address to the 10th Congress of the Russian Union of Journalists. Nowadays, journalists were not only \"chroniclers\", but also direct participants in major events in Russian history, Putin said. Reporters played a leading role in shaping people\'s ideas, values, moral and political principles, as well as forming the national agenda, he said. Meanwhile, Putin said journalists should work to unite the society against corruption, injustice, bureaucratic lawlessness, xenophobia and nationalism. \"(Independent mass media) have been necessary for Russia\'s efficient democratic development, strengthening of civil society and solutions to the most important tasks,\" he said.