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

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

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

How green revolution led to 'deterioration' of Punjab economy, land, air and water

By Dr Gian Singh*  A recent research paper, based on a survey of 320 farming families in four districts of Punjab, has tried to show that high crop densities and the use of inputs have led to degradation of land, air, water and humans through a rich agricultural structure. Although mechanization has increased agricultural productivity, it has also caused environmental degradation.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Abysmal deficit of water, food waste recycle treatment 'impacting' Chennai life

By Simi Mehta*  We are living in a state where the most basic needs like food and water are not assured to the people residing in the urban areas, which account for the biggest sources of food and water wastage. Socio-economic inequality in society which is pervasive in urban areas is one of the main reasons for this.