Itanagar, May 12: The Northeast India Federation of Journalists (NIFJ) on Saturday called upon the journalists of the region to unite in order to overcome the challenges faced by the media fraternity of the region.
At the end of the day-long North East Journalist conclave organized at Dorjee Khandu Memorial Convention Center here, the NIFJ observed that the journalists in the region were facing many problems and threats from the extremist groups, forest and drug mafia, intolerant politicians, bureaucrats and business community organizations.
“Journalists of this region are not getting a decent salary and perks. The newspaper managements have not implemented mandatory Wage board Awards. The plight of the journalists of electronic media is worse. They are not covered under the Working Journalists Act,” the NIFJ observed.
In its Itanagar Declaration, it urged upon the management of media houses to abide by the mandatory labour laws like issuance of appointment letters, provident fund, gratuity, leaves and due promotion to the scribes.
The federation also urged upon the respective State governments and media managements of the region to initiate insurance coverages, which should be borne by the government and the management.
“Since journalists of Northeast are working in hostile environment risking their lives, the insurance and compensation should be made mandatory,” the declaration said.
The NIFJ was happy to note that some of the governments have initiated pension schemes, for the journalists with Assam government already implementing the pension scheme with Rs 8000 per month to the journalists while Tripura is about to come up with to such Pension Scheme of Rs 10,000 per month to the journalists.
The federation urged the State governments to increase the pension amount to Rs 15,000 per month and also urged the States, which have not implemented yet taken up such Pension Schemes for journalists, to introduce the scheme without further delay.
The NIFJ further urged the journalists of the region to develop new sharing network, which may help the journalists in this professional works.
“NIFJ believes high standard and accountability of the journalists, training and orientation programmes on safety ethics, environment and disaster management to the journalists will help the journalists of this region in bringing excellence in journalism in the region.”
“NIFJ is committed to take initiatives in such programmes and urged the government and media management to extend all possible help in such endeavours,” the declaration added.
Earlier, during the inaugural session, State Chief Secretary Satya Gopal exhorted the scribes to join hands with the State government for a new Arunachal and Northeast.
Stating that the journalists could able to unravel the uniqueness of the region to the rest of the country, the chief secretary said role of media is important for ensuring transparency and accountability of governance.
Referring to the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to develop the region through the innovative Act East Policy, Gopal said, “The entire region today stands at a point of a new tomorrow and the policy will made convert the Northeast into an engine of growth for the country.
Highlighting various initiatives of the State government for the growth of media in the State, the chief secretary said the government had already sanctioned an amount of Rs 3.5 crore for the construction of the Press Club, besides Rs 2 crore as Corpus Fund for journalist welfare, Rs 4 crore for construction of Soochna Bhawan and an amount of Rs 5 crore for the establishment of high-tech multi-purpose studio to encourage budding film makers.
Information and Public Relation Secretary Sonam Chombey in his deliberation urged the journalist of the region to ponder how to highlight the positive side of the region in the mainstream media saying that the Northeast capture space in the national media only in the negative aspects.
Chombey also urged the scribes to partner with the respective State governments in the development process.
Indian Journalist Union (IJU) president S N Sinha called for strengthening all the journalist bodies of the region to overcome the challenges faced by the scribes of the region.