GUWAHATI, Dec 22 - The family members of the 32 journalists who were killed by terrorists and antisocial elements were felicitated by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at a function held at the Madhabdev Auditorium of the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here today.
An amount of Rs 5 lakh each was presented to the next of kin of the slain journalists.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who formally distributed the one-time financial assistance, recalled the contributions of the late journalists and their uncompromising stand, saying that their sacrifices would not go in vain.
�Positive changes in society are possible only through good governance, and honest and fearless journalists are critical to effecting such transformation. They have set the foundation for a value-based society, which the youth must emulate and reflect in their activities,� he said.
Urging the journalists to be extremely critical of the Government, Sonowal said that any act of omission and commission on the part of the Government must be exposed by the media. �Journalists are the watchdogs of society and they must constructively criticise us for our mistakes so that things can be corrected,� he added.
Asserting that the Government was taking up various welfare measures for the benefit of journalists, Sonowal said that the Government was considering life insurance cover for journalists and appropriate steps would be taken after examining the entire matter.
Calling for concerted and cohesive action by the four pillars of democracy for an egalitarian society, Sonowal reiterated the Government�s commitment to make Assam free from corruption, pollution, insurgency and illegal migration.
�The media is very strong in Assam. I would say that it the most proactive media in the entire country,� he said.
He also urged the media to play a proactive role in boosting harmony among all the communities living in the Brahmaputra and Barak valleys and the hills and plains.
The Chief Minister also highlighted the vast potential of the State in diverse sectors and urged the media to work positively for leveraging its growth. He also stated that the Assam Government was organising the Global Investors� Summit in Guwahati on February 3 and 4 to open up exciting vistas before a global audience.
Media Adviser to the Chief Minister Hrishikesh Goswami said that the State Government had in its first Cabinet meeting took a decision to adequately recognise the sacrifices of the journalists who lost their lives or were missing in various incidents of violence and the decision came into reality with the event.
The Additional Chief Secretary, I&PR Department, Dr AK Singh delivered the welcome address. The vote of thanks was offered by Director of I&PR Rajiv Prakash Baruah.
The 32 late journalists who were remembered included Kamala Saikia, Ratneswar Sharma Shastri, Parag Kumar Das, Kunarmal Agarwala, Anil Majumdar, Ranbir Ray, Manik Deuri, Nurul Haq, Ankur Barbora, Bimala Prasad Talukdar, Prakash Hazarika, Deepak Swargiyari, Girija Das, Deeneswar Brahma, Jiten Chutia, Alfarid Sajaduddin Ahmed, Pabitra Narayan, Kanak Rajmedhi, Jogendra Daimari, Manikon Das, Badosa Narzary, Jagajit Saikia, Indramohan Kakasam, Jogesh Uzir, Muslim Uddin, Raihanu Naim, Prahlad Goala, Harichandra Boro, Panjatan Ali, Kaushik Chandra Bora, Krishna Chetry and Hemanta Sarma.
The Chief Minister released a book titled Shradhar Enkajali containing the photographs and bio-data of the slain journalists on the occasion. A collection of articles by the rural journalists of Assam who recently visited Madhya Pradesh on a goodwill mission organised by the I&PR Department titled Madhya Pradesh: Ek Ananya Jatra was also released.
MLA Joyram Engleng, Chief Minister�s Legal Adviser Santanu Bharali, ATDCL Chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah, family members of the deceased journalists, several editors and proprietors of media houses and officials of I&PR Department were also present in the programme.