GUWAHATI: “Government must work in close synergy with the media to extend the benefits of various welfares schemes, developmental initiatives and its collateral ideas. Otherwise, developmental propaganda, conceived and designed by the government will not affectively reach to the targeted masses,” said Kamrup metropolitan Deputy Commissioner Virendra Mittal.
While speaking at the National Press Day function organized by the Assam Press Correspondents’ Union (APCU) at the Guwahati Press Club on Friday, Mittal said that Legislative, Executive and Judiciary cannot function in a water tight compartment without the media. Stating that all of these institutions have their respective responsibilities, Mittal further said, “Media must give eyes to these three institutions for smooth functioning. As such, four of these institutions must act together to benefit the people of the nation.”
During the occasion, the Deputy Commissioner also acknowledged the constructive roles played by both the print and electronic media during the Ambubachi Mela and Durga Puja. “Media helped the administration in maintaining both the festivals in a systematic order by spreading the guidelines to the greater masses,” he said.
Recollecting his tenure as Deputy Commissioners in Chirang district, Mittal said, “During the uprising of insurgencies that involved killing, kidnapping, threatening and collection of ransom in Chirang district, media reported in a very objective and constructive manner. It thus helped the administration in tackling and understanding the situation.” In a bit to suggest the students of mass communication, Mittal said that social media has been emerging as the central stage of public discourse. “It equally brings both positive and negative consequences. Therefore, you must remain quite critical to social media. Be analytic and critical in your approach towards social media.”
Attending the occasion, senior journalist of Asomiya Protidin, Prakash Mahanta said that to strengthen the trend of journalism in the State, press persons reporting from various corners of the State must also be paid due attention. He said that allegation of State’s hand behind the killing of number of press persons is a matter of concern. Expressing his frustration over the role played by the Press Council of India (PCI), Mahanta said, “The PCI must pay attention to the safety and security of the press persons.” Sharing his experience during the occasion, Naresh Kalita, Editor, Niyomia Barta said that in the earlier years, role of the PCI was not very much positive. “PCI has been failing in controlling the corporate owned media establishments. Instead, the PCI, from time to time, attempts to sabotage the small publication houses,” he observed. The Editor further stressed that whether it is the State, corporate giants or individuals, certain forces always try to lure the media to act as their mouth pieces. “However, when the media criticize their wrongdoings and ill-propaganda, they never hesitate to assault the press persons.”
Kalita maintained that ironically, in many sensitive issues, PCI has been maintaining mysterious silence. “In the recent times, PCI has changed their perspective a lot. They have been becoming quite pro-active in their approach towards the challenges faced by the press persons,” he said. He added that despite all challenges, journalists must stand by the masses.
Founder secretary general and path finder of the APCU, Bhabesh Barua while remembering the 32 journalists who were killed by various forces in different periods of time, said, the only faults they committed were their critical reporting and writing to point out the wrong doings of the State machineries. “It is still a mystery that none of the assassins are convicted which is nothing other than a great betrayal to the press fraternity.”
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