As Assam prepares for the next Legislative Assembly election in the next few weeks, a media forum urged all political parties to show their sincerity towards the implementation of various welfare schemes for media persons, engaged in both print & electronic media. Journalists' Forum Assam (JFA) also insisted on enrolling a special protection law for scribes on duty in the election manifestos by both the regional and national political parties. Expressing grave concern over helpless working condition of media persons, particularly the private television employees including working journalists in northeast India, the forum appealed to the Union government to look into the matter seriously.
The forum, in a statement issued by its president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, argued that nearly 80% working journalists of the region are still performing their duties with pitiable salaries (read monthly financial package), unlimited working hours and without any facilities recommended by the country's labour laws.
The forum pointed out that the reporters and camera persons, engaged with the satellite news channels of the region have to work in a vulnerable atmosphere with low wages, more than 8 hours working period in a day, without weekly off-day, no leaves in need and with no comprehensive facility for life & health insurance coverage. Earlier the JFA raised demands for a social media audit across India where the readers/viewers can find a transparent picture of the financial dealings involved with their favourite news papers and news channels.
“The media audit should address various vital issues relating to the media market in the country,” said the forum adding that the exercise in the long run should help the journalists and non-journalist media employees to get due benefits supported by the law of the land.