Skip to main content

Boost to Modi? Assam journos' forum wants regulatory body to curb alternative media publishing "unverified" stories

Jagdamba Mall
By Our Representative
In a surprise move, a top mediapersons’ association of the North-East, Journalists’ Forum of Assam (JFA), has demanded a regulatory authority over what has come to be known as alternate media, urging the Government of India to go so far as to “empower” the Press Council of India with “the inclusion of electronic and social media” for this.
The move comes at a time when there is an increasing concern across India over reducing democratic space, with mediapersons critical of the government authorities being “targeted” for coming up with stories which may not sound music to the powers that be. Things have gone so bad the 2017 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders ranked India at 136 out of 180 countries, worse than the previous year.
Making the case for a regulatory authority, JFA refers to a news story published in a prominent news portal, The Wire, which led to a major repercussion across Assam. Taking strong exception to the local media republishing the story, in a statement, JFA president Rupam Barua said, “While the concerned portal should have reported the matter with right perspective, the vernacular news outlets must have authenticated the facts before publishing the news item.”
He regretted, the local dailies “might have recognized” the news portal as trustworthy, hence found it “logical to use the content of the portal over a sensitive issue without verification”. However, Barua asserted, “Once we have a powerful media council. This kind of flaws could be addressed more efficiently.”
The news item which created storm was regarding the two-year-old “peace deal” between Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the armed group Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah or IM), claimed to be “the beginning of a new future”, The deal, said the story, sourced on an RSS-supported “draft agreement” for bringing several areas of the North East under Naga control, creating it termed as “Greater Nagalim”.
Prepared by RSS veteran Jagdamba Mall, the story said, the RSS’ document wanted Greater Naligam to take shape over the next ten years by creating “separate” development authorities in seven Naga inhabited districts of Manipur, two Naga inhabited districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Changlang and Tirap and one in Assam, the Dima Hasao (North Cachar Hills district).
As copies of the ‘draft plan’ were sent to some media houses in the North-East for publication, which included a proposal that Assam’s Dima Hasao district be part of ‘Greater Nagalim’, news stories in local media led to angry protests in Assam. In the last week of January, two people were killed in Dima Hasao district, when police opened fire at demonstrators protesting a draft Naga agreement “proposed” by an RSS member.
While Mall has denies the existence of RSS draft plan, saying “I am nobody to speak or write on behalf of RSS or BJP”, he admits, his was “simply a sharing of an idea." According to observers, what created furor was, he is considered face of the RSS in the North-East, who has also been instrumental in BJP’s electoral inroads into the region.
Local sources say, the problem has aggravated because, though the proposed Nagalim claims many areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and also northern Myanmar localities, there is still “uncertainty” over the government actions as contents of Naga agreement, announced by Modi have still not been made public.
Meanwhile, an eerie quiet prevails in Dima Hasao, an autonomous district constituted under the sixth schedule of the Indian constitution, home to Dimasa tribe people with a sizable Naga population. It has witnessed several ethnic insurgencies since 1980s. Demands from government clarify its stance on Nagalim has continues to be made by several North-East organizations.

Comments

JFA reiterates demand for regulatory authority over alternate media
http://www.thehillstimes.in/jfa-reiterates-demand-for-regulatory-authority-over-alternate-media/

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are about 180 units in in the to…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Historic Chikhalda, temples, mosques submerged, activists 'rescue' Gandhi idol

By Medha Patkar
The first farmer of Asia was born in Chikhalda, if one is to believe archaeological researchers. A historic village, 50 percent of its population is of Hindus and 50 percent of Muslims, yet it has always remained peaceful. Chikhalda has struggled to save water, land and people along Narmada river.

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

By Our Representative
The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.