ITANAGAR, Sept 3 - Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday assured the members of Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) that his Government would look into the demand for press reforms in order to promote a free-thinking society. Khandu gave this assurance when an APUWJ team led by its president Amar Sangno called on him at his office here and demanded, among others, enactment of Working Journalists Protection (WJP) Act.
Presently, Maharashtra is the only State in India where an Act to protect the rights of working journalists has been passed. Journalists in Arunachal Pradesh often face daunting situations from various quarters. Hence, APUWJ strongly feels that the enactment of WJP Act would ensure the safety of all scribes, Sangno said.
In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the APUWJ also demanded introduction of pension scheme for working journalists, implementation of Majithia Wage Board Award, accommodation for accredited journalists at Govt guest houses and exemption of journalists from paying toll and parking taxes.
The Chief Minister was apprised that till date, the State Governments of Assam, Tripura, and Haryana have implemented a pension scheme for journalists.
Khandu, while assuring to look into the demands, however, expressed that demand for implementation of Majithia Wage Board Award may take some time.
Sangno also drew the attention of the State Government towards the increasing curbs on the freedom of press by covert and overt measures by the Central and some of the State Governments.
Earlier, on September 1 last, the journalists under the aegis of APUWJ took out a protest rally from Aakshdeep to Arunachal Press Club in the State capital demanding protection of rights of the media. Thousands of journalists all over the country held demonstrations and dharnas at the call of Indian Journalists Union (IJU) against atrocities meted out to journalists and media houses, killing of journalists and intolerance of Central and State Govts.