GANGTOK: Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay awarded senior journalist Bhim Rawat with the prestigious 16th Kanchenjunga Kalam Purashkar on the occasion of the 20th foundation day celebration of the Press Club of Sikkim.
Along with Rawat, Sujal Pradhan, a young and upcoming journalist, was awarded the Lagansheel Yuva Patrakar award. PCS also felicitated veteran journalist Sukvir Blone on the occasion.
The CM gave prize money of Rs. 51,000 to the award-winning journalists and announced a third category of award to be started from next year. The Teesta Rangeet Abhiral Kalam Purashkar will come with a prize money of Rs 1 lakh and the winner will be picked by the Press Club of Sikkim and the Information and Public Relations Department of the State government.
Senior journalist Bhim Rawat in his speech highlighted that the PCS was founded two decades ago with the sole aim of speaking up for the benefit of the journalists in Sikkim. Rawat, as one of the founding members of the PCS, shed light on the various accolades of PCS in terms of social services and reporting. He urged the upcoming journalists to be responsible and not just run after viewership during the times of social media.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay, in his address, highlighted the various demands placed by the press fraternity. He stated, “Among the demands presented by Press Club of Sikkim, pension for journalists seems a priority. But who should get, how much work experience should count and how much they should get, the criteria for the pension proposal must be discussed between IPR (Information and Public Relations) Department and PCS. It can either be a pension or a golden handshake. We understand that journalists are not in the profession to earn money, it needs and is driven by passion and patience. They may not earn money but they will earn a name. It is a sad profession in a way. There is genuine need and demands of the journalists are valid.”
On health insurance for journalists, Sikkim CM shared, “We will work this out with Central Referral Hospital (Manipal). We will make this work as annual medical insurance. During COVID, we gave away some money to journalists knowing they were facing difficulties. If a journalist gets sick, we have immediately helped journalists in their time of need.”
The Chief Minister also reminded the gathering about the exposure trip for journalists wherein Rs 2 lakh will be given to 10 journalists for such exposure trips.
The CM urged the journalists to write analytical reports on various announcements made by the government. He said, “Write the truth, analyse the same. Just not a plain simple report but analysis of the truth. We can be corrected as a government by the journalist.”
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