NIFJ calls for safety of journalists in NE

NIFJ calls for safety of  journalists in NE
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Dimapur, May 13: Northeast India Federation of Journalists (NIFJ) has called upon journalists of the Northeast to unite to face the challenges faced by the media persons of the region.
It said journalists of this part of the country are facing many problem and threats from the extremist groups, forest and drug mafia, intolerant politicians, bureaucrats and business community organizations.
Stating that journalists of this region are not getting a decent salary and perks, the NIJF said the newspaper managements have not implemented mandatory Wage board Awards.
NIFJ urged upon the management of media houses to abide by the mandatory labour laws like issuance of appointment letters, provident fund, gratuity, leaves, due promotion etc.
It also urged upon the government and the media management of this region to initiate insurance coverages, which should be borne by the government and the management. Since journalists of Northeast are working in hostile environment risking their lives, the insurance and compensation should be made mandatory.
It expressed happiness that some of the governments have initiated pension schemes, for the journalists. Assam government has already implemented the pension scheme with Rs 8000 per month to the journalists. Tripura Govt is about to come up with to such Pension Scheme of Rs 10000 per month to the journalists.
NIFJ urged upon the state governments to increase the pension amount to Rs 15000 per month and also urged the states, which have not implemented yet taken up such Pension Schemes for journalists to introduce the scheme without further delay.
NIFJ further urged the journalists of this region to develop new sharing network, which may help the journalists in this professional works.
NIFJ believes high standard and accountability of the journalists, training and orientation programmes on safety ethics, environment and disaster management to the journalists will help the journalists of this region in bringing excellence in journalism in this region.
In a meeting held at Itanagar, the NIFJ urged upon the state governments of the entire Northeast region and its agencies concerned to ensure safety of all the journalists.
It called upon the community organizations, ethnic bodies, students and youth organizations etc to respect the freedom of media and freedom of expression.
The NIFJ appealed to them to issue rejoinders to the media organizations concerned in case they are aggrieved by any news item published/aired in the media.
NIFJ further urged all journalists in the North East in general and journalist bodies in particular to work unitedly for the upliftment and cause of the community.
NIFJ also expresses great dismay over the growing attacks on the members of the journalists’ community in the NE region by both state and non-state actors, thereby severely affecting the safety and security of the journalists which in turn affects the freedom of the Press and freedom of Expression.
NIFJ, therefore called upon all the state governments to enact laws in the model of Maharashtra Journalists Safety Act encouraging the safety and security and other relevant aspects of the journalists.
NIFJ further urged the journalists and journalist organizations to follow media ethics and refrain from sensitive issues, especially connected to border disputes which may further disturb the peace and fraternal relationship between two NE states.
The NIJF further expressed concern that the state governments in the region have by and large not extended various essential facilities like pension, health insurance, housing, transportation etc to its journalists, the same which have already been introduced by various other progressive states in the country. NIFJ urged upon all the state governments in the region to implement the mandatory Wage Board award without any delay.
NIFJ urged upon the state governments of NE to enact amendments to the Working Journalists Act (WJA) in line with Delhi government’s recent amendment to the aforesaid Act, to make compensation, punishment more stringent for the newspaper managements for violating the provisions of the Act.
The NIFJ also urged the state governments to immediately constitute a tripartite committee for implementation of Wage Board.
It expressed grave concern over the move of the Union government to amend the Citizenship Act so as to confer citizenship to all refugees belonging to the religious Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain communities of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan despite of strong opposition from the NE region.
NIFJ is of strong conviction that the Centre’s move will jeopardise the survival and very existence of the small indigenous communities of the NE states.
The Federation condemned the Central government’s move and demands that the proposed amendment be scrapped.
The NIFJ further welcomed the Meghalaya cabinet’s decision of opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill and urged all the other state governments to follow suit and oppose the Bill so as to safeguard the identity of its people.
Meanwhile, the NIFJ office bearers for 2018-2020 were elected with Geethartha Pathak as Advisor; Sajjad Ali-president, Amar Sangnao and Asem Bhathata Singh-vice presidents; Bedabarta Lakhar-secretary general; Sushmita Goswami-treasurer.
State-wise executive members are Taya Bagang (Arunachal Pradesh); Ngathingkhui Jagoi and Ashiko Pfuzhe (Nagaland); Pranab Sarkar (Tripura); Manosh Das (Meghalaya); Bhim Rawat (Sikkim); Rudra Karki (Gorkhaland, Darjeeling); Ramkung Pamei (Manipur) and Rahesh Sharma (Gorkhaland).
To form full-fledged Gender Council in the states, NIFJ has appointed Nivedeta N Manpoong as Convenor APUWJ state Gender Council. (Page News Service)