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13 May 2018

NIFJ calls for enacting Journalist Welfare Act


Pradeep Kumarm | Arunachal Observer | Itanagar | May 12 :  The Northeast India Federation of Journalists (NIFJ), during NE Journalists Conclave-2018, after threadbare discussions, strongly favoured enactment of Journalist Welfare Act to ensure security, safety and payment of the journalists, particularly those working in small newspapers across the nation.

Indian Journalist Union president S N Sinha clarified that the IJU has been consistently working to achieve it, which was supported by IUJ vice president Gitarth Pathak, NIFJ president Sajat Ali & secretary general Vedabrata Lahkar.

Highlighting the challenges and problems confronting them, most of the participants from Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland besides Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists Union president Amar Sangno & general secretary Ranju Dodum pinpointed that most of the newspaper establishments have neither implemented Wage Board recommendations, Contributory Provident Fund (CPF), pay structure & insurance scheme etc, while hire and fire policy is common even without issuing any appointment letter.

Sinha categorically clarified that most of the issues across the country, while CPF is mandatory for all establishments.

However,  the Supreme Court has made pay structure mandatory for which the APUWJ should take up with the GoAP to form a tripartite committee involving the journalists, management and the Govt to study and recommend pay structures or else it would amount to contempt of court.

Clarifying to various queries Sinha said that, if the Govt is not clearing advertisement bills of any newspaper establishment it could move the Press Council of India, the way one organization of Sikkim had moved against DAVP.

The accredited journalist are granted 50% railway concession on official duty to the journalists besides thrice along with journalists by the Govt. of India besides medical facilities with CGHS cards, while, Pathak suggested to hold training on ethics to boost skill.

Responding to a report on Behali incident by some Guwahati-based electronic media, both said such reports to evoke communal clashes are against the ethics of journalism.

The conclave also adopted various resolution:

1) The Northeast India Federation of Journalists (NIFJ) urges upon the state governments of the entire northeast region and its agencies concerned to ensure safety of all the journalists.

NIFJ calls upon the community organisations, ethnic bodies, students and youth organisationsetc to respect the freedom of media and freedom of expression. The NIFJ appeals to them to issue rejoinders to the media organisations concerned in case they are aggrieved by any news item published/aired in the media.

NIFJ further urges all the 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 calls 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 urges the journalists and journalist organisations 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.

2) NIFJ is highly concerned over the non-implementation of the mandatory Wage Board award for the journalists in the NE region despite of the fact that several years have lapsed since the Central government declared the award. Further the NIFJ expresses 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 urges upon all the state governments in the region to implement the mandatory Wage Board award without any delay.

NIFJ urges 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 urges the state governments to immediately constitute a tripartite committee for implementation of Wage Board.

3) NIFJ expresses 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 therefore strongly condemns the Central government’s move and demands that the proposed amendment be scrapped.

The NIFJ further welcomes the Meghalaya cabinet’s decision of opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill and urges all the other state governments to follow suit and oppose the Bill so as to safeguard the identity of its people.

KalimNews: The federation consists of journalists union of all 7 North Eastern states and GTA. It was attended by members of Indian Journalists' Union and GTA was represented by Rudra Karki, President of Eastern Himalayan Journalists' Union an affiliate of IJU.  

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