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

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

TRENDING

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".