Guwahati: Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA), while appreciating the Union Information and Broadcasting ministry for its initiative to review the guidelines for scribe’s welfare schemes, urged the mainstream media houses and seasoned journalists to display transparencies in their own financial transactions to qualify themselves for such benefits.
The forum of scribes also opined that the media houses should show their balance-sheets every year and working journalists make self-declarations about their assets along with liabilities as they demand transparencies from concerned individuals in other sectors so that they can lessen the erosion of goodwill from the valued readers, listeners and viewers before it’s too late.
It may be mentioned that the I&B ministry prefers to have a look at the existing guidelines of various journo-welfare schemes and get appropriate recommendations for the required changes. The changing media scenario has inspired and made it necessary to define the term ‘working journalists’, who are engaged with both traditional and modern/digital media outlets.
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The review committee is expected to maintain the parity between the government accredited and non-recognized scribes as the acknowledgement rules vary from State to State. For any reason, an accredited journalist should not be considered as an elite, because the status could be altered with the change professional portfolios in media houses.
The committee, headed by renowned journalist Ashok Kumar Tandon, comprises senior scribes namely Sachidanand Murthy, Shekhar Aiyar, Amitabh Sinha, Shishir Kumar Sinha, Ravinder Kumar, Hitesh Shankar, Smriti K Ramachandran, Amit Kumar, Vasudha Venugopal along with Kanchan Prasad from Press Information Bureau and is expected to submit its report within two months.
“We need to discuss on the importance of digital (alternate) media and if the journalists engaged with those outlets can be recognized as working journalists enabling them for getting all kinds of legitimate government benefits,” said JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria, adding that the professional journalists should establish their integrity first.