Guwahati: Assam, in accordance to the nation reeling under the Covid-19 pandemic, celebrated the National Press Day 2020 commemorating the birth of Press Council of India (PCI) on 16 November 1966 with various programs in different localities. The State level program, organized by Assam’s information & public relations department at Shrimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra in the city, was graced by chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
“A vigilant media is a prerequisite to keep a democratic society robust and healthy. Media must make the government accountable before the public and constructive criticism is necessary to a keep the government on track. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the media persons always stayed at the forefront and did not shy away from their duties to get news for people, even at the risk of their health, commented Sonowal while addressing the function.
Admitting that media sector has lots of problems and the pandemic also impacted it negatively, along with other sectors, he stated that the government has been taking various steps for the welfare of the journalist fraternity and would launch more such schemes in the future as well. He referred to his visits to 36 districts during the trying times of novel corona virus induced lockdown and appreciated the role played by media personnel which he witnessed during those visits.
Along with health department, which had the most crucial responsibility during the entire pandemic situation and other agencies like police, public health department, fire brigade, power department etc, media personnel also played key part in dissemination of information among the public and acted as a bridge between the government and the public, he added.
In the key note address, Tezpur University mass communication & journalism professor Dr Joya Chakraborty underlined the service rendered by the media while acting as the connection between the government and the governed during the lockdown and stressed on the need for specific training for journalists in various fields including the healthcare reporting.
On the occasion, Sonowal in presence of his media adviser Hrishikesh Goswami, State information commissioner Preetom Saikia, information & public relations director Anupam Choudhury and a host of dignitaries, felicitated Padmashree Eli Ahmed, senior sports journalist Premadhar Sarma, journalists MC Medhi, Tapas Samaddar, RK Sarma and KM Roy for their contributions to the society.
Various district authorities across Assam also organized the auspicious day together with local media organizations. Baksa district administration in association with Mushalpur Press Club also celebrated the press day where a distinguished gathering from the various section of the society was present. Rich tributes were paid to martyr-journalists Ratneswar Sharma Shastri, Monikan Das, Harischandra Boro and Deepak Swargiary, who hailed from the district, on the sacred occasion.
Attended by district magistrate Ranjan Sarma, district police chief Hiranya Barman, district information officer Hemchandra Pathak, the function also witnessed the release of a souvenir titled Kalam Camera with many eloquent articles. The function was also addressed by senior journalist Anil Chandra Kakati along with Nava Thakuria, Mantu Saikia, Kulesh Talukder, Prasanta Dutta, where a number of active scribes namely Partha Das, Kartik Das, Nikunja Kalita, Manohar Rajbongshi, Niren Sarma, Binoy Boro, Sankar Rajbongshi, Ashok Baral, Damodar Talukder, etc were present.