The first ever district conference of Assam Union of Working Journalists (AUWJ) was held at Officers’ Recreation Club here on Saturday.
Unfurling the flag, District Information and Public Relations Officer, Sabir Nishat advocated the need for a special protection law for the working journalists on duty and to ensure justice to the victims killed by terrorists and other anti social elements by bringing them to book.
Referring to the state government’s initiative to grant ex-gratia of Rs. 5 lakh to the next of kin of as many as 32 journalists, Nishat said, “It is only a recognition of the invaluable services rendered by them for the society and not a compensation to the bereaved family members in any manner whatsoever”.
Highlighting the slew of initiatives by the present government such as Assam Pension Scheme for Journalists, Journalists Medical Welfare Scheme, Journalists Family Benefit Scheme, media fellowship and exposure goodwill tour for rural mediapersons both within and outside the state, Nishat called upon the journalists to come forward and to avail the benefits.
He also voiced concern over non implementation of the Majithia Wage Board recommendations by most media houses in the state despite directive from the Supreme Court.
Nishat also urged the media fraternity to shun negative reporting and to present facts as they are, as misinformation can add fuel to fire, especially in conflict zones.
General Secretary, AUWJ, Tutomoni Phukon urged the journalists and non journalists to rise in unison to assert their rights. Phukon said AUWJ is striving relentlessly for implementation of the wage board recommendations by the media houses. He exhorted upon the mediapersons to be fully aware of their rights and responsibilities.
Organising Secretary, AUWJ, Bhaskar Sarma said that his organization has been espousing the cause of journalists and non journalists since its birth and working to improve their status and working conditions so that they can live life with dignity.
Senior journalist, Nitish Bhattacharjee urged the journalists to refrain from yellow journalism and sensationalism and to ‘present a real picture of what is happening’.
Former president, Hailakandi Press Club, Ujjal Das and senior journalist, Santosh Kumar Mazumdar urged the journalists to work with utmost dedication and commitment and not to be cowed down by threats and influenced at any cost.
Secretary, AUWJ, Central Committee (south-west zone) Rahul Chakraborty delivered the welcome address.
A lively interactive session was held in which the central committee office bearers of AUWJ answered a volley of questions fired by journalists and also threw light on the salient features of the Majithia Wage Board recommendations as well as various laws enacted for the journalists from time to time.
At the end of the day-long deliberations, the full fledged executive committee of Hailakandi District Union of Working Journalists was constituted with Dipak Ranjan Nath as president and Nilotpol Deb as general secretary. The adhoc committee of Karimganj District Union of Working Journalists was also formed.
As part of the event, a colourful cultural programme was held at Nazrul Sadan auditorium in which well-known singer Sarada Hazarika regaled the audience with popular Bihu, Goalporiya and Hindi songs.