CM Biren pledges CMHT benefit to media persons
IMPHAL, 16th Nov: The State Journalist Award 2018 in the category for Best Editor on “National Integration & Communal Harmony” was given to Poknapham editor Aribam Robindro Sharma while Sagolsem Bigyan, staff reporter of its sister publication The People’s Chronicle was awarded in the category of Rural Reporting on the occasion of National Press Day 2018 celebration at 1st Bn Manipur Rifles Banquet Hall here on Friday. In his address as the chief guest of the celebration organised by Department of Information & Public Relations (DIPR) , chief minister N Biren Singh observed that the profession of journalism is very challenging though the financial returns are minimal. In view of the financial hardships being endured by the media persons of Manipur, the government will definitely include registered journalists under the Chief Ministergi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT) so as to mitigate financial problems they are likely to face in case of health issues. Stating that media persons whose families fall under the Socio Economic Caste Census are already eligible to avail benefits under ‘Ayushman Bharat’, a national health protection scheme (benefit cover of Rs 5 lakh), he conveyed that those journalists excluded from the Census will be benefitted under CMHT. The CM also announced that the state cabinet will deliberate over relaxing certain norms of PM Modi’s Ayushman Bharat to expand coverage of the national health scheme along with assuring that media persons not covered under ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme will be incorporated in the CMHT which provides healthcare benefit of Rs 2 lakh. While referring to the DIPR record that there are 243 registered journalists working in the state, Biren also said he will take the initiative to increase the cash prize awarded to the best editor in the next edition of the Award.
Recounting hardships that he faced while working as a journalist himself and receipt of the Best Journalist Award in the category of National Integration and Communal Harmony, the CM said that media persons must be supported and encouraged as the profession is risky, dangerous and full of uncertainty.
Further stating that with the formation of the new government positive changes could be brought about, he stressed: “We need to treat each other with respect and dignity for constructive human development. We must work to achieve the cherished goal of a progressive society.”
He said every year National Press Day is celebrated on November 16 as a symbol of free and responsible press in India. The power of media is known by all and the award conferred on the day reinforces the importance of the duty of the fourth Estate in a democratic Government.
The Chief Minister appealed to the media fraternity to continue playing the positive role in building national integrity, communal harmony. To bring a positive result there should be a healthy debate between the government and media.
He, however, voiced concern over possible implication of filing or publishing reports without proper verification of facts along with stating that extreme care needs to be taken to ensure that no uncorroborated report should be published which could demoralise a person, hurt his/her dignity and would be harmful to the society.
Stating that in print and electronic media there are editors who verify the reports, he noted with regret that in the case of social media there is no such verification process. Thus, rules and regulations have been implemented to prevent misuse of various social media platforms, the chief minister said, adding that despite culprits booked under the law, the trend is still continuing.
Praising media persons of the state for dispensing their duty in a diligent manner and with maturity, he said the public should be aware about restrictions and censorship in every aspect including social media.
Congratulating the awardees, he applauded the hard work and dedication of the media and media persons. Stating that the government will extend all possible help, he said he empathises with the plights of the media fraternity as he was once a member of the fraternity.
The CM further opined that changes have come in Manipur’s media that has resulted in better relationship between the public and the government. Media should encourage positive changes and should focus on positive side.
There are more and more tourists coming to Manipur so he has asked the security forces to stop any harassment faced by them by frequent checking carried out on roads, he added.
Speaking as guest of honour CAF&PD minister Karam Shyam said that media plays an important role in the society. Acknowledging the personal sacrifices made by media persons in their profession, he appealed the media fraternity to be neutral, un-bias and fair while reporting news. They should reach out to the people with responsibility and sincerity, he stressed and assured that he will render all possible help to the media persons as much as possible in the coming days.
The event was also attended by IPR director H Balkrisna, joint director W Phajatombi Devi, officers & staff of DIPR, eminent media persons of the state and students of State Institute of Journalism and Department of Mass Communication, Manipur University.
Other awardees included, Hueiyen Lanpao senior reporter Bijoy Laishram on “Public Health & Hygiene”, Hueiyen Lanpao reporter Ashem Babycha on “Women & Children”, Hueiyen Lanpao special correspondent Naorem Gyanand on “Art & Culture”, Naharolgi Thoudang sub editor Kshetrimayum Meghajit on “Science & Technology”, Hueiyen Lanpao sub editor Puyam Romeshwar Singh on “Parliamentary Reporting” and Hueiyen Lanpao senior sports journalist Ratneshowri Goswami for Sports Reporting.
The Awards was conferred for editorials, news items and articles published during the calendar year 2017 in eight different categories. It included a cash prize of 25,000, citation and a shawl.