The National Press Day was observed here today at 1st Bn Manipur Rifles banquet hall under the aegis of the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) .
Among others, Governor Dr A Najma Heptulla, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi, IPR Commissioner K Radhakumar ad DIPR Director Meghachandra Kongbam attended the National Press Day observation.
Speaking at the gathering, Governor Dr A Najma Heptulla said that journalists are the crusaders of truth and are meant to report full and correct facts of an incident which reflect all sides of the problem.
She recalled that the Press Council of India (PCI) was established on November 16, 1966.Since then, PCI has been functioning as a moral watchdog to ensure that not only do the press maintain high standards expected from this powerful medium but also that it is not fettered by bribes or threats or any extraneous threats.
PCI which has now completed 50 years has been exercising certain authority over the instruments of the State safeguarding independence of the press.Underscoring the importance of responsive and responsible press, the Governor stated that mass media should not be allowed to misinterpret or control news and rule through manipulation.
Nowadays, journalists working in different fields have been filing reports on specific subjects and events like politics, sports, scientific activities etc.
One of the most challenging of such engagements has been reporting from the conflict area.
In the recent past, the world has been hounded by several violent occurrences, perpetrated sometimes by the State or militant groups or seccessionist groups.
India too witnessed problems like political unrest and civil disorders or riots at some places.
In such situation, the media has a very crucial role in finding a solution to prevent conflicts and even mitigate conflict situations.
The role of the press is multifarious and a flourishing press is to lay stress on the cardinal importance of democracy to succeed.
Media’s role in arousing people’s conscience to promote peace, harmony and brotherhood transcending barriers of caste, religion and interests is also equally important, asserted Dr Najma.
Media need to highlight the policies and programmes of the Government.
The media is the most effective medium of communication between the Government and public.
She stated that she would like to salute the bravery of those reporters who are reporting from war and conflict zones.
Chief Minister O Ibobi pointed out that India is the largest democracy in the world and the role of the press in a democratic country is known to all the people.
After setting up a press commission or press council in 1956, the commission/council issued recommendations for journalist fraternity to abide by their professional ethics.
This was followed by the establishment of PCI on November 16, 1966.Mass media is a powerful instrument in a democracy and the role of media became even more crucial in a State where different communities live together.
Balanced reporting based on facts are the cornerstones of a responsible media, Ibobi stated.
Detailed reporting on new innovations and creative ideas would be highly beneficial to the general public, Ibobi remarked.
He further exuded confidence that many journalists of the State would go on to win National awards in the years to come.
He then expressed strong reservation against filing news reports which can ring out negative messages.
People living outside the State would have a negative opinion of the State if the press only cover events which have negative images, Ibobi cautioned.
Later Dr A Najma Heptulla distributed State Journalist Awards 2016 .
The awardees included Paojel Editor Ranjit Oinamcha (Best Editorial on National Integration and Communal Harmony), Hueiyen Lanpao staff reporter Ashem Babycha (Reporting on Science & Technology), Naharolgi Thoudang Sub-Editor Kshetri Meghajit (Parliamentary Reporting), Hueiyen Lanpao Nomita Khongbantabam (Reporting on Art & Culture), Poknapham staff reporter Ibomcha Yumnam (Rural Reporting), Hueiyen Lanpao special correspondent Naorem Gyanand (Reporting with reference to Women and Children) Poknapham staff reporter B Devchandra (Reporting on Public Health & Hygiene) .
This was followed by a workshop on the topic ‘Reporting from Conflict Area: A Challenge to the Media’ .
Former AMWJU president AK Sanaton moderated the workshop where Impact TV Editor-in-Chief Yumnam Rupachandra presented a paper.
On being enquired if the State Government was contemplating to declare the United Naga Council (UNC) as an unlawful organisation, Ibobi stated that State Government has not adopted any decision to this effect.
The Government’s priority is ensuring adequate supply of essential commodities to the public. The issue is very sensitive and demands minute examination.
The State Government could not participate in the recent meeting between UNC and the Ministry of Home Affairs as the State Government was invited only at the 11th hour, he added.