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Journos endrose PM

All Assam Media Employees Federation (AAMEF) has welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s views on avoiding a huge group of journalists while on foreign trips arguing that it serves little purposes. Rather, the umbrella body of different journalist units in Assam demands, Modi should take personal interest to provide due benefits to millions of working journalists and media employees of the country.

“We come to know that Prime Minister Modi has recently disclosed about his decision to avoid a bigger group of journalists to accompany him in the foreign trips. He categorically stated that in a new age journalism today, it hardly matters where the media persons are located in respect of getting update information and not necessarily it is important for them to travel with the PM for doing that,” said Hiten Mahnata, president of AAMEF.

The second reason, the hardliner Prime Minister reportedly mentioned that ‘it was a flawed policy in any case as same journalists from the same big organizations were repeated over and over again. As for small newspapers, it was the proprietors who availed of such junkets. Modi also argued that while taking 30 selected journalists for the foreign trip, the rest is always being deprived and displeased. Moreover, if there was a major policy announcement, he would address a press conference inside the country after his return, the Prime Minister asserted. Mentionable is that in his first two foreign trips (to Bhutan and Brazil) as the Prime Minister, Modi was accompanied by five journalists only. He avoided a huge group of media persons with him intentionally. It is understood that Modi would follow the same principle while he is visiting the United States of America in September 2014.

“The views of Modi are being reflected in Assam and northeast India time and again, where the accompanying journalists (with the President or PM) to foreign countries hardly did their jobs. Most of them hired the scripts of the news agencies to fulfill their commitments,” added Mahanta, who is a senior journalist of Assam.

Meanwhile, Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has appealed to the Prime Minister to take proper initiatives to help the journalists & media employees, engaged with the privately owned news channels, getting the advantages of a statutory wage board like their counterparts in the newspaper & news agencies of India.

“Need not to mention that over 70 per cent television employees of the country are still performing their duties with pitiable salaries, unlimited working hours and without any facilities recommended by the country's labour laws, not to speak of any statutory wage board,” said Rupam Barua, president of JFA.

Urging the Prime Minister to frame pragmatic policies to help the media persons in distress across the country, Barua also raised voices for reconstituting the Press Council of India with the inclusion of the electronic media at the earliest.

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Senior journalist based in Guwahati.

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