Media expresses displeasure over Pul's Statehood Day speech
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
ITAGAR, Feb 22: Expressing displeasure over non-release of four-year long pending advertisement bills, the media fraternity of the state has threatened not to entertain government news and advertisement if the state government fails to meet the demands of the media houses by February 29 next.
The decision was taken in an emergency meeting held on Sunday at Aruchal Press Club (APC) attended by representatives of APC, Aruchal Pradesh Union of Working Jourlists (APUWJ), Aruchal Electronic Media Association (AEMA) and newspaper owners pertaining to Aruchal Statehood Day speech of the Chief Minister Kalikho Pul and regarding boycott of the 30th statehood day celebration and related functions.
Giving a genesis of the events, the press bodies lamented that the APC President had sought an appointment with Secretary Fince which was not entertained on February 15 last. As a follow-up, on February 16, a press statement was issued in the newspapers seeking redressal of the issues raised, including clearance of the bills, where a decision was taken that there would be boycott of the statehood day and events related to it if the pending bills were not cleared by February 19.
“With the expiry of the February 19 deadline, a decision was taken to blackout the front page of all the newspapers in protest against indecisiveness of the state administration in meeting the demands of the media persons of the state. However, in the rest of the pages, the news, including the formation of the new government and adverts were duly carried,” a press release informed. However, to the astonishment of the media fraternity, Chief Minister Kalikho Pul in his Statehood Day address at IG Park, made allegations which were uncalled for a person holding the highest office of the state instead of taking cognizance of the issue raised by the press fraternity, the press bodies observed.
The fraternity took exception to the new Chief Minister’s statements that the press in the state worked under the dictate of the former Chief Minister.
“Press releases of CMO and Raj Bhavan are given due importance as many a times it pertains to important policies and programme and announcement of the government. The same will continue in days to come, irrespective of the person holding the office of the Chief Minister or the Raj Bhavan,” the fraternity clarified.
In his speech, pointing out at media people who had come from outside the state to cover the event, Pul said that even though the media had announced a boycott, they were present to cover the event. The media fraternity took exception to his statement and clarified that the event was not attended by the media persons of the state.
The media persons also questioned his intention of making the speech, which could incite the people of the state against the media fraternity without understanding the ground realities.
Due to his confrontatiol stance, some of his supporters have even made threatening calls to the media persons. The members of the press fraternity have expressed sadness over this and said a person holding the responsible position of Chief Minister should not have made such incrimitory statements.
Despite the repeated attempts of the press fraternity to convey their long-pending grievances, the Principal Secretary Fince Satya Gopal and Secretary Fince Dr B M Mishra have turned a blind-eye, leading to the present situation, the meeting said.
Considering the single-window clearance of various pending bills by the governor under the President’s Rule, the fraternity considered it wiser to implore on the immediate release of four-year long pending advertisement bills.
“This negligence on the part of state officials have demoralised the fraternity and made the situation precarious, leading even to non-payment of salaries. The very existence of the media fraternity is in tethers, while some of them are already on the brink of closure,” the media fraternity added.