CM announces financial aid of Rs 5 lakhs to Patrakar Kalyan Kosh
GANGTOK, November 17: Announcing a financial aid of Rs 5 lakhs to the ‘Patrakar Kalyan Kosh’ formed under the Press Club of Sikkim, Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today also assured to look into funding for the construction of a building exclusively for the PCS.
Addressing the National Press Day function here, Mr. Chamling also announced that an award for rural journalism would be initiated next year. In the same vein, he opined of providing 100 percent scholarship from the State Government to those journalists interested in pursuing higher education in journalism in India.
Assuring the press fraternity to fulfil all their demands one by one, the Chief Minister urged them to develop a ‘sense of belonging to the society’ as all the journalists, he added were a part of the society and that they should nurture a feeling of attachment to the society and the nation as a whole. “Only then can you give justice to your responsibilities and the entire population of India and Sikkim,” he said adding “I feel our journalists lack this sense”.
He further went on to say that the press should always consider the interest of the mass and practice responsible journalism rather than be self-centred. “Although there is progress in quantity of the newspapers here, I find there is lack in quality,” Mr. Chamling said.
“Go for positive journalism and investigative reporting than digging into negativity with no authentic grounds,” he said adding that the press should rather highlight the works of the state government.
Interestingly, the Chief Minister while referring to Article 19 (1) A of the Constitution of India also briefed the journalists comprising of veteran editors and senior editors on the do’s and don’ts in journalism and its legal implications.
Earlier, a 13-point demand on behalf of the entire press fraternity was submitted to the Chief Minister. The demand includes providing press releases in Nepali for Nepali newspapers and also photos by IPR Department, State Government to establish a separate directorate for advertisement to avoid wear and tear of the press people for realization of the bills, establishment of a stable office of the PCS, establishment of Press Akademy, IPR Department to amend the rate of advertisement given to different non regional newspapers and also their empanelment in the IPR Department and also ascertain a fixed rate for advertisement to FM and other irregular newspapers. Other demands are allowing accreditation card to the journalists having five years experience by the IPR department, State Government to create ‘Patrakar Kalyan Kosh’ as PCS or providing financial assistance to the Kalyan Kosh of PCS for the welfare of the press fraternity, insurance coverage to the journalists, pension policy to the journalists, to form a Pay Commission Board for the working journalists, setting up of a Press Gallery in the State Assembly, financial support to the newspapers having financial constraints for their survival and initiation of journalist awards in diverse fields like rural journalism, social journalism etc for motivation.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister also handed away the positive journalism grant to five journalists of various media houses. The recipients were Menuka Pandey, Nayuma Correspondent, HK Khawas, Editor/Publisher of Nepali Weekly ‘Kija Aaja’, Pranay Lamichaney, Editor/Publisher of Nepali Weekly ‘Himali Purva Sandesh’, Suresh Rai, Editor/Publisher of Nepali Weekly ‘Nav Nirmaan’ and Bhim Rawat, Editor/Publisher of Nepali Weekly ‘Swatantra Manch’.
CD Rai, the advisor to the PCS while sharing his experiences in journalism, spoke on the fast changing journalism scenario in India. The IPR Minister Neeru Sewa on her part called on the journalist to carry their duties with utmost positive energy. Encouraging more developmental reporting she said, reporters should always write facts after thorough verification.
Speaking on the occasion, PCS general secretary Bhim Rawat, said: “There has been a major progress in the press in the last seven years. Presently, the state has 12 daily newspapers published in different languages and about 60 weekly vernacular newspapers which symbolize the progress in the press and still we are in the process of learning.” Highlighting on misconduct and assault on media persons by the security personnel and regular disputes with the police while on duty, Mr. Rawat said that the press has become a strong medium for justice for the people of Sikkim as people approach the press for justice first and not the police. “This is achievement for us,” he added.
The President of PCS Parasmani Dangal said also spoke on the problems faced by working journalists especially when special security passes issued by IPR department serves nothing when VIPs visit the State. “Our field staffs are not allowed to take the photographs and take adequate information when there is any programme dealing with VIPs like in case of the recent visit of the ice President of India. At the same time, the PCS president stressed on creating good working environment for the field workers as press has a vital role to play in dissemination of information to the mass and towards creating an intellectual society.
He further informed that the state government has increased the annual grant in aid given to PCS from Rs 1.50 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs, provided facilities to the accredited journalists of Sikkim and also assurance into looking into the misuse of press stickers in vehicles not owned by press people.
Also present on the occasion celebrated with the theme ‘Bharatiya Patrakar Ko Badlindo Swarup’ were State Forest Minister Bhim Dhungel, Bhim Dahal, Press Advisor to the Chief Minister and State IPR Secretary MG Kiran, other senior officials of the department.