Imphal: Manipur government would always uphold Freedom of Expression and would never curtail Press Freedom.
Chief minister N. Biren Singh said this on National Press Day which was observed at the Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), here on Tuesday.
One should also ensure that Freedom of Expression does not violate morality and decency, he said.
Information and public relations minister Th. Biswajit Singh, fisheries minister S. Rajen Singh, commissioner (IPR) M. Joy Singh and All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) president Wangkhemcha Shamjai among others were present.
Presentation of State Journalist Awards, 2021 in eight different categories and holding of workshop on the topic, ‘Who is not afraid of Media?’ were the main highlights of the day.
Being a leader from the media background, the chief minister said, he fully understands the problems faced by the media persons of the state. Stating that he has a deep honour for media persons, he said various steps had been taken up by the present government for the welfare of the media fraternity of the state. The Manipur State Journalists Welfare Scheme had been introduced to provide one-time financial assistance to the accredited and recognised journalists of the state and their families. A total of Rs 25 lakh has been utilised from the interest incurred from Corpus Fund of Rs 10 crore till date, he added.
Pension amount for retired journalists had been hiked from Rs 5000 to Rs 8000 and from Rs 2000 to Rs 4000 for family pensioners, besides approving one-time age relaxation for enrolment for applicants from the age group of 45 to 65 years, he added.
The coverage of CMHT had been extended to the families of the recognised media persons as well, he said.
The media fraternity may also suggest to the government how it can help them in other matters, he said.
He asked them to have healthy competition among them.
Biren urged the media fraternity to have proper verification of news before it is published or broadcast. He requested them to collect detailed facts and figures from the concerned government departments.
Biswajit said to acknowledge the contribution of journalist in the state, the Manipur State Journalist Award was instituted in 1994 with only one category of award, i.e. Best Editor Award carrying cash prize of Rs 5,000. Stating that the Award now has eight different categories, Biswajit said winners of the award are decided under rules laid by an independent panel of juries.
Rajen said media plays a great role in guiding the society to the right path. It makes people understand about the efforts and works done by the government for them.
The chief minister presented the Best Editor Award on National Integration and Communal Harmony to editor of Poknapham daily Aribam Robindro Sharma. The award carries prize money of Rs 40,000, a memento and a shawl. Other state journalist award winners were staff reporter of Sangai Express Sapam Aruna Devi (women and children), resident editor of Hueiyen Lanpao daily Dr Khaidem Athouba Meitei (Parliamentary reporting), staff reporter of People’s Chronicle Oinam Mission Singh (art and culture), staff reporter of Sangai Express Sapam Aruna Devi (science and technology), staff reporter of Sanaleibak daily Khangembam Shanker Singh (rural reporting), senior staff reporter of Sangai Express Mayanglambam Romen Singh (sports reporting) and reporter/anchor of Impact News Kshetrimayum Premchand Singh (public health and hygiene). These awards carry prize money of Rs 25,000, a memento and a shawl each.
A workshop on the topic, ‘Who is not afraid of media?’ was held with Editor-in-Chief of Impact TV Yumnam Rupachandra as the moderator and Imphal Times editor Rinku Khumukcham as the resource person.