IMPHAL, January 7: In a democracy, media plays an important role, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said during the 39th Manipur Press Club Day observation.
The media while strengthening the three pillars of democracy- the judiciary, legislature and the executive, has the added responsibility to bring more transparency by acting as a watchdog and disseminating reports to the public, the CM said.
The function was attended by the state Chief Minister as the chief guest, and dy CM Gaikhangam, Works and Transport minister Dr Kh Ratankumar, Social Welfare and Co-operation minister Ak Mirabai, parliamentary secretary, MI and IPR, K Meghachandra Singh, Indian Journalists’ Union and president, Journalists’ Union of Assam, Geetartha Pathak as the guests of honour, while All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union, president Wangkhemcha Shamjai attended as the functional president.
Any ‘constructive suggestion’ from the media to improve the developmental schemes and policies of the government is welcomed, said the CM.
He further rejoiced that in India, the freedom of expression has been enjoyed since a long time.
Lauding the media/ press for their work, the Chief Minister also appealed to all to unitedly work to strengthen the democracy and move forward.
The number of journalists has increased manifold in the world, however, there are certain media houses that have failed to follow the laid down guidelines and norms, especially in the western countries, said Geetartha Pathak.
He said the journalist community not only faces problems while carrying out their duties but while also trying to maintain a decent living. He further appealed to the government to help the media by implementing schemes, insurance and pension policies, and other benefits for them. Journalists are provided pensions schemes in some states like Kerala, UP etc, he said.
SN Sinha said that there is less coverage of North eastern states in the national media, however, the journalists of the region should not get disheartened and continue to work freely. He also urged the government for proper beneficial schemes including medical for the journalists.
While, lamenting the low salaries of a journalist, he said that a journalist cannot work properly if one is not paid well.
He further appealed to the journalist community to work for the people and not against the people; before adding that the credibility of a journalist is shown by his work.
Meanwhile, Gaikhangam said the role of the press is very critical and risky.
The media is regarded as the fourth pillar of a democracy, he said; and added that the media helps in disseminating the development in the state achieved by the government. The media and the government need to work closely together to bring prosperity, development to the state, he opined.
However, there are also media persons, who sometimes cross beyond the set guidelines and sometimes acts as both the police and the judge, the dy CM observed.
He also said that the anti-defection law was made to stop political party members from party hopping.
In Manipur, the media and the government are well balance, he said.
The dy CM also said that the fact that the political parties of the state had come together to work on the boundary issue, shows the co-ordination between the people of the state.