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Put people first: Arnab Goswami urges politicians and media

Noted journalist Arnab Goswami Sunday said that it is important for legislators to put people first in their agenda. “We are all here because of the people. People should come first whether it is in politics or media,” said Goswami while addressing legislators on the topic: “Legislators and Relationship with Media” during the third phase of Sabal Bidhayak, a series of orientation programmes initiated by the Assam Assembly. The series that will continue on select days until January 2017 next year have been designed and coordinated by Guwahati based think-tank Centre for Development and Peace Studies.

Describing the quality of journalism Goswami said that Indian journalism is stronger than journalism elsewhere because the media here can question everything including religion, something not practiced by the western media. At the same time, Indian media is independent and secular- it can cover issues for instance as to why a woman cannot enter a place of worship. While in UK the media is very structured, in India it is not. Stating that his channel Times Now has broken six major scams so far and each case has been followed by the judiciary, he said that the media in India has kept the judiciary on its toes. Media in India has come a long way. Today’s media is an unusual media. It is confrontational unlike media in earlier days which had information but little impact.

“Politics is about taking responsibilities. Development follows when the media behaves responsibly and politicians too work responsibly,” he said. Terming the New Media as an Activist Media or Campaign driven Media, he said that today’s media followups news until there is response from the concerned quarters. He said that today journalists are no longer disseminators of information only, they have become activists. Media is a reflection of the changing country. Legislatures should open up new relations with the media and both should think about how they can work together and not how they can fight, he added.

Veteran politician and former minister Abdul Muhib Majumder highlighted the participants on procedural devices available to members to raise matters of urgent public importance on the floor of the house. Former Assam Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta also addressed the participants and spoke on Parliamentary etiquette, ethics, customs and conventions. He said that if legislators follow the rules and procedures of the Assembly, it will be beneficial both for them and the public.

Phani Bhushan Choudhry, who has been representing his constituency for the seventh consecutive term, threw light on general rules of procedures of the Assembly – questions, legislations and resolutions. He said that it is very important for a legislator to know how to put a question in the Assembly, which question is to be given priority and how to frame a question. According to him, the question must be focused and proposals should be such that it includes the problems and issues important for the state as a whole apart from then problems of a particular constituency.

Speaking on the occasion Director, Indian Institute of Information Technology, Guwahati, Gautam Barua said that new and relevant courses should be introduced in the ITIs along with vocational courses for students who cannot pass tenth standard. State Minister for Water Resources Department, Science and Technology, Information Technology, Keshab Mahanta sensitized the legislators on the relationship between legislators and media and said that for legislators media is the medium to reach the masses. Senior journalist Samudra Gupta Kashyap stated that media and politics are inseparably related and while media plays the role of a watch dog, it also has its own responsibilities.

Vice Chairman of the State Planning Board Dipok Kumar Barthakur speaking on “Skilling and Regenerating Assam,” said that courses must be developed with an eye on the employability sectors of the region. He was of the opinion that a Skills University is necessary in the region to boost employment. In the programme that followed the Centre for Development and Peace Studies Executive Director Wasbir Hussain presented an overview of skill development initiatives in Assam. Intense interactions between the legislators and resource persons marked the sessions.

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