Silchar, April 3: The fate of small and medium newspapers of Barak Valley is lurking in the dark. A large number of registered newspapers of this valley are sustaining without advertisements. Advertisements are lifelines for a newspaper. Despite numerous representations to the Chief Minister of Assam and other higher authorities concerned, no concrete steps have been taken so far. The proprietors and staff of these newspapers are living hand to mouth. Despite numerous representations to the government and the authorities concerned, there seems to be no respite from the present crisis. In this regard, members of Barak Valley Small and Medium Newspaper’s Association (BVSM) will stage a 2 hour sit-in demonstration in front of the statue of Khudiram Bose, at Park road of this town on April 7 and April 8.
The decision was taken at a meeting held in Chabi Gupta Memorial Hall in Ambicapatty, Silchar on Sunday. The sit-in demonstration will be held in protest against the discrimition and step motherly attitude of the Director of Information and Public Relations, Assam. A memorandum addressed to Sarbanda Sonowal and signed by Sat Kumar Koiri, president, and Debal Adhikari, general secretary, of BVSM, has been sent on Monday. Leaders and members of the ruling party, various opposition parties and organizations as well as of various organizations have been invited to take an active participation in the demonstration.
It is to be mentioned here that no reason, valid or invalid was shown for this sudden stopping of ads to these newspapers. The survival of the newspapers is at stake. Various meetings had taken place between the members of BVSM and ministers, authorities concerned both in Silchar and in Guwahati. The indifferent and step motherly attitude and approach of the government towards the fourth pillar of democracy, press, is not at all acceptable. These newspapers did not getting any advertisement since December 2017. This has been intimated to Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal through a fax message sent by Sat Kumar Koiri and Debal Adhikari. These newspapers are being published regularly. However, they are not getting any advertisement. On the other hand, small and medium newspapers of Brahmaputra Valley are getting advertisements on regular basis.
Talking to The Sentinel, Debal Adhikari said, “The press advisor to the Chief Minister of Assam at a meeting attended by the representatives of small and medium newspapers of Brahmaputra and Barak Valley in Guwahati, said that regular advertisements are being given to Barak Valley small and medium newspapers regularly. “It is disheartening to see that a higher official like him is not speaking the truth. We are not getting any advertisements. Brahmaputra Valley and Barak Valley are not seen or treated equally in any respect. I urge upon Assam Chief Minister to look into the matter and solve the issue at the earliest,” Debal Adhikari added.