Imphal/ Shillong/Kohima/Guwahati: National Press Day was observed on Tuesday in Manipur with Chief Minister N Biren Singh as the chief guest at the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) complex, Nityaipat Chuthek.

Information and Public Relations Minister Th Biswajit Singh was the functional president, while fisheries minister S Rajen Singh, Commissioner (IPR) M Joy Singh and All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) president Wangkhemcha Shamjai were the guests of honour.

Presentation of State Journalist Awards 2021 in eight different categories and holding a workshop on the topic ‘Who is not afraid of Media?’ were the main highlights of the event.

Speaking on the occasion, the CM stated that the state government would always uphold the freedom of expression and would never curtail press freedom. However, one should also ensure that the freedom of expression does not violate morality and decency, he observed. 

Having a media background himself, CM Biren Singh said he fully understands the problems faced by the media of the state. Stating that he has deep respect for media persons, Singh said that various steps had been taken up by the present government for the welfare of the media fraternity of the state.

The chief minister presented the Best Editor Award on National Integration and Communal Harmony to Editor of Poknapham daily Aribam Robindro Sharma. The award carries a prize money of Rs 40,000, a memento and a shawl.

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In Meghalaya, the Shillong Press Club in collaboration with the Directorate of Information & Public Relations on Tuesday celebrated National Press Day on the theme “Who’s not afraid of the Media” at a programme held at the Shillong Club.  

Minister of Information & Public Relations James P K Sangma attended the programme as chief guest accompanied by Chief Executive Member, KHADC, Titosstar W. Chyne as Guest of Honour and Secretary, IPR , Matsiewdor War Nongbri, as the Special Guest.

Speaking on the occasion, Sangma recalled how he started his career as a journalist, he felt a strong connection and find it very meaningful to be a part of the National Press Day celebration.

Sangma further urged the media fraternity, that despite the post truth era, one must ensure that truth prevails. “The responsibility of the press is to give factual reports and this 4th Pillar of Democracy must uphold this responsibility and abstain from Yellow Journalism,” said Sangma.

He also informed that the Advertisement Policy of the state is in the final stage of completion and it will be rolled out soon. With regards to various demands from the press fraternity of the state which includes Journalists Pension Plan and Journalists Welfare Fund, Sangma said the government was committed to fulfill all the needs.

A Panel Discussion was also held with the participation of MLA Dr M Ampareen Lyngdoh, MDC Paul Lyngdoh, former DGP W R Marbaniang,  Meghalaya High Court Senior Advocate V G K Kynta, MD of Centre Point Group of Enterprises, Larsing M Sawyan and Policy Lead North Eastern Network, Joy Syiem.
Former DGP WR Marbaniang said that the question that needs to be asked is if media is independent or not.

In Kohima, journalists and media professionals joined the nation in celebrating National Press Day.

Speaking on the topic during the event organized by Kohima Press Club at Hotel East Gate in Kohima, Dr Moalemba Jamir, Associate editor of Morung Express, said the topic chosen by the Press Council of India (PCI) questions the kind of attitude towards the media.

“Is the media something to be afraid of? Who should be afraid? And why is it something to be afraid of?” he questioned. To this he said that it is often the ones who have something to hide that are afraid of the media.

As he advised that one should be mindful of where and how the news is collected and distributed. “In the midst of the unrelenting challenges and changes which are unavoidable, if our motive is truth, we will be powered but if our motive is power, the truth will be distorted,” he added.

He then urged journalists to ponder saying “Are we generally being respected and building credibility through our work as journalists?”.

Peace activist Niketu Iralu, who also spoke on the occasion, said that as most journalists sense “existential realities beneath the country” as their motivation for turning to journalism. He said that journalists and writers must find a way that show the fragile but fiercely conscious ethnic minorities like the Naga society to learn how to survive and grow properly instead of destroying themselves by panicky response to the challenges.

KPC president Alice Yhoshü, in her keynote address, highlighted that despite many shortcomings, journalists in Nagaland have kept the flag flying over the years.

“But there is still a lot to be done. We need to make room to create innovative concepts on how to be catalysts of growth and progress while keeping a sharp focus on accountability in the government system and the powers that be,” she said.

KPC Impact journalism Award

The Kohima Press Club Impact Journalism Award 2021 was awarded to Imkong Walling who started his journalistic career in 2009 and is currently the principal correspondent of Morung Express, a local daily.

Yhoshü said this award was initiated in 2020 to give recognition to journalists for their exemplary work and to encourage media professionals to do better.

She said that Walling won the award for a series of works throughout this year that highlighted problems in the energy sector in Nagaland, particularly with electricity being a basic need and right of the citizens.

Walling, while receiving the award, said “This is a surprise for me. I feel really honoured. As I receive this, I want you all to ponder on what makes this award special.  For me, it is special because it did not come from the government; it came from among us. We look forward to a free press without shackles.”

At the state-level, National Press Day was organized by the DIPR in Kohima and attended by media professionals from the government sector, Advisor to Chief Minister, Abu Metha who was the special guest, said that the department was called as the propaganda machine of the government that is in power but that narrative has changed with the passing of time.

Metha encouraged the media in Nagaland to confront the truth and not to be afraid of the truth.

Dimapur Press Club celebrates National Press Day

The Dimapur Press Club also celebrated National Press at DBDIL Hall, Don Bosco School Campu in Dimapur, with Padma Bhushan Dr. SC Jamir as special guest.

Addressing the gathering, Dr Jamir said the world is moving very fast, particularly in the field of science and technology, and that modern society has become an information society where every citizen is equally interested to get the latest information.

He said that information should, therefore, be comprehensive, accurate and fair. In a situation where the idea of right to information has become paramount in society, he said that one should remember the fundamental rights provided in the constitution of India.

‘Social media portals a threat to media’

“Social media portals have been becoming threats to media and society due to the nature of stories they air with an intention to blackmail people,” Minister for Information and Public relation Pijush Hazarika said while addressing the World press Day programme organised at PWD Convention Centre at Dispur, Assam, on Tuesday.

“We need some checks and balance,” Hazarika said adding that if such bad trend is allowed to continue one day there will be a grate disorder in our society.

“Being a political leader, I feel that importance of media is imperative in developing our country in global arena. It is our duty to respect all media persons. But I appeal to you all to be impartial. Who is not afraid of media,” he questioned.

Hazarika felicitated 12 senior journalists on the occasion.

Speaking on the theme of this year’s programme “Who is not afraid of media”, Professor of Sociology of Tezpur University, Dr Chandan Kumar Sarma said credibility is the first and foremost responsibility of media.

Additional Chief Secretary (IPR) Paban Barthakur, Commissioner and Secretary (IPR) Neera Gogoi Sonowal and Director of IPD Bishnu kamal Bora were also present.

Also read: Mizoram single-day COVID-19 positivity rate dips to 11.30%

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