Skip to content Skip to navigation

Journalism is a service and journalists must be allowed to function freely

Guwahati: Journalism is a service to society and the nation. Anyone wanting to make money should not be in the profession. Only those who have the flair, the passion and the right attributes should enter, for only such people can take on the challenges and survive in the long run,” said Sashi Nair, Director of the Press Institute of India and Editor of its journals, Vidura and Grassroots, while addressing the ‘Meet the Press’ programme of Guwahati Press Club on Friday.

While stressing the watchdog role of Press Council of India to ensure ethics and quality in news presentation, Nair agreed that the PCI’s ambit could be expanded to include electronic and online or social media as well because print and digital were two parts of one whole entity. With National Press Day lending a special significance to the programme, Nair spoke from Chennai at length about media issues during his interaction with city-based scribes here via video conferencing. “India still remains a country of newspapers. Most Indians continue to trust newspapers as conveyors of factual information,” Nair said, pointing out that the circulation of newspapers in India was healthy compared to downward trends in other parts of the world and that this was a good sign. He agreed that it was in rural India where the newspaper reading habit flourished and where people were often seen gathered around one newspaper and sharing information.

Do today’s editors retain the influence of the ones of earlier generations? Nair felt that today’s editors of newspapers are no longer the giant-like figures of the past; it was a reflection of the changing times and things, in any case, were never the same after the invisible wall between editorial and advertising had crumbled several years ago, he said.

One of the main challenges for journalists in the days ahead would be tackling fake news or misinformation, Nair pointed out. Listing out various examples, he said there was no solution in sight yet to tackle the malaise and the onus was on editors and journalists to double-check at every stage.

Nair spoke about the hardships journalists in India today faced, especially if they were investigative journalists. He said India ranked low on the Press Freedom Index (complied and published by Reporters Without Borders), that journalists often faced threats and intimidation, and that the killings of journalists who were just doing their job (Gauri Lankesh, Shujaat Bhukari, Santanu Bhowmick, Sudip Datta Bhaumik and others) had cast a dark shadow and created fear. It was not right that this should happen in the largest democracy in the world, he said, adding that journalists must be allowed to function freely and be protected.

When asked about the woeful coverage of subjects such as health and agriculture by newspapers, Nair said that indeed it was true save for a few newspapers and that a lot more attention was being paid towards politics and entertainment than hard issues that concerned the common person.

To a question relating to some publications inflating circulation figures to attract government advertisements, Nair said that publishers of repute would not resort to such a practice and that such instances must be reported. He was all for transparency within the media and for news publishing houses publishing their accounting figures yearly. “When editors and journalists report on the need for transparency and want individuals and companies to adhere, they should lead by example, he said.

Nair said news publishing houses and their managements must pay their journalists reasonably well and provide them the necessary facilities to function. For, after all, the financial and social security of journalists mattered a lot.

Author info

AT News Guwahati's picture

Add new comment

Random Stories

Landslide in Guwahati

24 Jun 2014 - 12:08pm | AT News
Atleast 15 people had a narrow escape when the houses they lived in were collapsed in landslide in Guwahati on Tuesday.           The incident took place in the wee hours at...

Mohilary unfurls tricolour in Kokrajhar

26 Jan 2018 - 10:45am | AT News
KOKRAJHAR: BTAD chief Hagrama Mohilary unfurled the tricolour and took salute of the March past of army, police and para military forces at the Kokrajhar Govt HS School Playground on Friday. In his...

Deputy CO of NDFB(S) killed

17 Jul 2015 - 8:01pm | Hantigiri Narzary
Deputy Commanding Officer(CO) of 14th battalion of the NDFB(S) Sijou was killed today at an encounter with security forces at Thersobil Chautara area under Gossaigaon Police Station of Kokrajhar...

Here comes Bohag Bihu

12 Apr 2017 - 10:17am | AT News
Spring, the season of blooming flowers, gurgling steams, chirping is back with unbound festivity that gives the north eastern state a different look. Festivity grips the people who are well prepared...

Other Contents by Author

Guwahati: Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) expresses profound grief at the demise of Agra based senior journalist Pankaj Kulashrestha with Covid-19 complications. The forum announces Kulashrestha, who tested positive for novel corona virus, as the second Indian media martyr in the fight against corona outbreak after Bengal photojournalist Ronny Roy. Kulashrestha (50) was associated with a prominent Hindi daily newspaper and succumbed to corona complications on the night of 7 May 2020 in a local hospital. The authority has already quarantined the office, where the brave media warrior used to work and taken samples from every one for screening of the deadly virus. The soft-spoken scribe left...
Guwahati: Northeast Futsal League (NEFL) is being played in NC Bordoloi Indoor , Sarusajai Guwahati, Assam. It is India’s first-ever mixed-gender futsal league, which will feature six teams in total, will be played over a period of seven days (25th-31th August, 2019). In the third match of the ongoing North East Futsal league presently going on in Guwahati, Apurba Manipur drew with Assam Titans in a 2-2 draw. While the Scorers for Manipur were Md Shah Jahan and Md Yasir, Atlanta Basumatary and Arman Singha netted the ball for Assam. In the other match between Mizo falcons vs Meghalaya Thunders, Mizoram won by a handsome margin of five goals. All the matches will be streamed online on...
Guwahati: Northeast Futsal League (NEFL) is being played in NC Bordoloi Indoor , Sarusajai Guwahati, Assam. It is India’s first-ever mixed-gender futsal league, which will feature six teams in total, will be played over a period of seven days (25th-31th August, 2019). In the first match, Arunachal showed a comprehensive performance to snacth a win against Meghalaya Thunders, Paula Boza Gil from Spain playing for Arunachal becomes 1st female player of the league to score, she scored both the goals.Francis was the lone scorer for Meghalaya as the Match ended in a 2-1 win for Arunachal. In the second match Mizo Falcons won against Apunba Manipur 3-2. For Mizo Falcons their captain Alan...
Guwahati: India and Afghanistan have maintained historically close ties fruitful for both nations. But political disturbances in Pakistan, located in between, poses difficulties for the Indo-Afghan bilateral relationship, observed senior Afghan radio journalist Abdul Mujeeb Khalvatgar while interacting with city based scribes on Sunday (3 March). He was participating in Guwahati Press Club's 'Meet the Press' programme through video conferencing from Kabul. However, these difficulties are short lived and both the friendly nations soon revert to business as usual. Regarding the present Indo-Pak standoff and the volatile situation in Kashmir, Khalvatgar asserted that the Indian government...
The annual cultural festival of IIT Guwahati, Alcheringa, in its 23rd incarnation has been scheduled in the fine winter season of January and February, from 31st January to 3rd February. This edition of Alcheringa is showing a promising start to grow more and more. Along with the entertainment and events, Alcheringa takes pride in showcasing it’s social responsibility by launching a range of campaigns from “Udaan” for underprivileged people to “North-East Unveiled” with the aim of spreading the culture, tradition and Beauty of North-east countrywide. Besides the awesome Pronites line up which have seen the likes of Sonu Nigam, Mohit Chauhan, Mika, Vishal-Shekhar at this cultural festival...
Guwahati: The city based scribes maintain good health as most of them have performed well in a recent blood screening camp conducted by Assam’s celebrated healthcare institute Dispur Hospitals. Nearly 80 scribes, age limit from 30 to 60 years, participated in the free camp, where their blood samples were collected to test thyroid, haemoglobin and sugar. Only 11 scribes were diagnosed with high thyroid stimulating hormone (more than 7 milli-international units per liter or mIU/L), where four participants were with low haemoglobin (less than 12 gm/dl) and five with high random blood sugar (more than 140 mg/dl), said a statement from Guwahati Press Club, where the camp was organized last week...
GUWAHATI: Tasked with protecting wildlife, foresters often try to cover up their inefficiency and corruption by terrorizing indigenous people inhabiting areas near forests. But without taking these people into confidence, it is impossible to preserve forests and wildlife. Expanding on this issue, Sophie Grigg, Senior Research and Advocacy Officer, Survival International, said that merely arming forest guards with sophisticated weaponry actually complicates the conservation effort. She was addressing city-based scribes from London through video conferencing as part of Guwahati Press Club’s ‘Meet the Press’ programme. Referring to Kaziranga national park, Ms Grigg however claimed that while a...
AASU activists thronging in thousands in Dispur on Thursday in Protest against the Citizenship(Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Guwahati: Pakistan’s well-known journalist, broadcaster, expert on policy advocacy, strategic and corporate communications, Munir Ahmed will interact with the member-journalists of Guwahati Press Club (GPC) on Friday. The proactive journalist will be available through video conferencing from Islamabad between 3 and 5 pm (Indian time) on November 9, 2018. A regular contributor to Daily Times, radio and participant to programs of PTV and other national news channels, Ahmed inspired the authority to adopt Pakistan’s first ever National Conservation Strategy, National Housing Policy, National Environment Protection Act, National Sustainable Development Strategy etc. He is the founder of...
  GUWAHATI: The Kamrup Police have arrested three persons in connection with the murder of senior State Bank India (SBI) official Junu Sarma.Police in a pre-dawn raid on Sunday arrested the three persons–Putul Ali alias Saddam Hussain, Sunil Kumar Mishra and Pranab Kalita from different places.While Putul alias Saddam is a loan recovery agent, Mishra is an official of SBI’s Dadara branch. Pranab, who was detained by police for questioning after the incident, is a driver of the vehicle of bank official Sarma.The arrested accused persons were produced in the Kamrup CJM’s court, which sent them to 14-day police custody.The 56-year-old woman official of SBI’s Dadara branch was shot dead...