Govt will never curtail press freedom: CM
Poknapham Editor Robindro, TPC reporter mission conferred state journalist awards

Source: Chronicle News Service / DIPR

Imphal, November 16 2021: The Directorate of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) observed National Press Day with chief minister N Biren Singh as chief guest at the Directorate's Nityaipat Chuthek complex here on Tuesday.

Presided over by Information and Public Relations (IPR) minister Th Biswajit Singh, the function was attended by education minister S Rajen Singh, Commissioner (IPR) M Joy Singh and All Manipur Working Journalists' Union (AMWJU) president Wangkhemcha Shamjai as guests of honour.

The main highlight of the function was the presentation of State Journalist Awards, 2021 in eight different categories, which was followed by a workshop on the topic, "Who is not afraid of Media?" The workshop was moderated by Impact TV editor in-chief Yumnam Rupachadra with Imphal Times editor Rinku Khumukcham as resource person.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Biren affirmed that the state government will always uphold the 'Freedom of Expression' and would never curtail freedom of press.

However, one should also ensure that the freedom of expression does not violate morality and decency, he observed.

Being a leader with a media background, the Chief Minister said that he fully understands the problems faced by the mediapersons of the state.

Stating that he has a deep honour for media persons, Biren maintained that 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 had been utilised from the interest of the Corpus Fund of Rs 10 crore till date, he added.

Moreover, 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 a one-time age relaxation for enrolment for applicants from the age group of 45 to 65 years.

The coverage of CMHT had been extended to the families of the recognised media persons as well, the CM conveyed.

In addition to these schemes, Biren invited the media fraternity to share suggestion to the government on how it can provide assistance in other matters.

He further the media houses them to have healthy competition among them, while urging the media fraternity to haye proper verification of news before it is published or broadcast, including collection of detailed facts and figures from the government departments concerned.

Apart from the media fraternity, CM N Biren said that the government had also introduced many welfare schemes for the people in other professions as well like artistes, sportspersons, entrepreneurs, etc.

He stated that all-round progress can be achieved only when the government attends to the grievances of each and every individual.

In his speech, minister Th Biswajit iterated that to acknowledge the contribution of journalists in the state, the Manipur State Journalist Award was instituted in 1994 with only one category of award, ie, Best Editor Award, carrying a cash prize of Rs 5000.Presently, the Award now has eight different categories, and the winners are decided under a set of laid down rules by an independent panel of juries.

Among the achievements accomplished by the present state government, the minister mentioned completion of the new DIPR office building in 2021.The DIPR staff are attached to the office of the chief minister, deputy chief minister and all the ministers to highlight the activities of the present Government and enhance news coverage.

The present government had also opened District Information Offices for Kangpokpi and Pherzawl districts, he added.

Stating that the media has a great role in educating the masses, Biswajit urged the media fraternity to do balanced reporting and requested them to include the versions of both sides while reporting to avoid confusion.

Maintaining that National Press Day is observed every year to strengthen the media's stand to be impartial in rendering service to the society, the Minister contended that a responsible media has great role to play in building up a civilised society.

Meanwhile, minister S Rajen Singh said that the media plays a great role in guiding the society to the right path.

It also makes people understand about the efforts and works done by the government for them, he added.

Later, the Chief Minister presented the Best Editor Award to editor of Poknapham daily Aribam Robindro Sharma for his editorials on 'National Integration and Communal Harmony', published in 2020.The award carries a prize money of Rs 40,000, a memento and a shawl.

Aribam Robindro hails from Lamboikhongnangkhong, Imphal West district.

He joined Poknapham on April 4, 1981 as a reporter.

He was also a recipient of the same award in 2018.Staff reporter of The People's Chronicle, Oinam Mission Singh was presented the State Journalist Award in the Art and Culture category.

Mission is the son of (L) Oinam Ashok of Wangkhei Angom Leikai.

He first joined the local daily Ireibak as a reporter in 2011 and then went on to join The People's Chronicle in 2018.It may be mentioned here that Mission was presented an award by Shree Shree Govindajee Nat-Sankirtana, Wangkhei, Palace Compound, in acknowledgment of his efforts towards preserving the art and culture of the state as a reporter.

In 2020, he bagged the third prize in a competition held as part of the 'Save Nambul campaign', which was organised jointly by State Environment Department and AMWJU.

Other State journalist award winners are staff reporter of Sangai Express Sapam Arena Devi (Women & Children and Science & Technology), resident editor of Hueiyen Lanpao daily Dr Khaidem Athouba Meitei (Parliamentary Reporting), 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) .

Each of the award carries a prize money of Rs 25,000, a memento and a shawl.

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