GUWAHATI, Jan 27 - Supreme Court Judge from Assam, Justice Ranjan Gogoi today made a clear pitch for the inevitability of a free Press to uphold democratic values. He was inaugurating the Assam Tribune Employees Union�s diamond jubilee celebrations on the Tribune premises here.
�Freedom of Press is a part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. Though Press has no special rights which are not exercised by the citizens in their individual capacity, it is a free Press that provides a platform for plurality of ideas, diverse opinions, dissent, criticism and assessment of other institutions. Press enables citizenry to become an informed Republic,� he said.
�Many believe that Press and judiciary are the last sentinels standing, and there is no denying the fact that Press is the �Ark of the Covenant� of democracy and judiciary is the guardian of Constitution. Perhaps this is why both the institutions were undermined the most in the dark ages of Emergency,� he said.
Justice Gogoi, while giving an outline of different case laws associated with the rights of the Press, said that judiciary has been an ardent supporter of the rights of the Press. He asserted that judicial pronouncements from time to time have helped media jurisprudence to grow.
Justice Gogoi also delved on the present-day challenges before the media including growing inroads of corporatisation and good and evil impacts of technology and Internet. �Sadly, alternative opinions and fair comments are being made to retreat making way for fake news,� he added.
Justice Gogoi along with other dignitaries also released a souvenir brought out on the occasion and lauded the rare and exemplary bond between the employees and the management that the Tribune Group boasts of. The souvenir has been edited by Hiranya Kumar Barman.
Eminent academician professor Amarjyoti Choudhury termed The Assam Tribune as a part of the culture of the Northeast. �With its ethical and responsible journalism, the Assam Tribune Group has kept people�s faith in journalism intact.
�A good newspaper is like a morning prayer. Its purity is paramount,� he said, adding that newspapers have a role in maintaining the cohesion and solidarity in society, especially one having a high cultural density and variety. Prof Choudhury also lauded the role of Justice Gogoi in the process of NRC update in Assam.
Hrishikesh Goswami, media advisor to the Chief Minister, expressed concern over the fact that journalists in general were still deprived of their legitimate rights, which was not a good omen for society. �It is unfortunate that those standing guards for the rights of others, are deprived of their own rights. Organisations like The Assam Tribune set an example for the others,� he added.
All the speakers remembered the role of Singhapurush Radha Govinda Baruah in establishing the organisation as a pioneer group in the field of journalism.
Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court Justice Ajit Singh was also present on the occasion.
Earlier, in his welcome speech, ATEU general secretary Dugdha Ram Kalita gave an outline of the journey of the union from 1956 till date and the challenges coming its way.
�With its democratic set-up and goodwill among the employers and employees, the Assam Tribune Group and the union faced all the challenges and came out victorious,� he added.
ATEU president Siva Prasad Deka reiterated the union�s pledge to work for the welfare of all the media workers of Assam and raise the demand for according the Majithia Wage Board award to all.
The union also felicitated the managing director of the Assam Tribune Group PG Baruah, other directors, judges and a number of other dignitaries present on the occasion.
Earlier, the programme started with flag hoisting on the Tribune premises.