Dr Jitendra Singh

IIMC, New Delhi holds webinar on 175 years of journalism in State

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 15: “It is a great coincidence that when India is entering the 75th year of Independence, Assam media has completed 175 years. Twenty-five years later, when India would be celebrating the 100th anniversary of Independence, then Assam’s media will be completing 200 years. I believe that the media of New Assam will have a crucial role in the New India of that time,” said Union Minister of State for DoNER Dr Jitendra Singh at a webinar organised on completion of 175 years of media in Assam by the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi today.

IIMC Director General Prof Sanjay Dwivedi, State Information Commissioner of Assam Samudra Gupta Kashyap, Executive Editor of The Assam Tribune PJ Barua and Executive Editor of Dainik Purvanchal Prahari Vashishth Narayan Pandey also joined the discussion.

Expressing his views as the chief guest, Dr Singh said the northeastern region had a rich legacy of media. “The history of media in Assam is linked to the history of the freedom struggle of India as well as the Northeast. Assam media was devoted to social subjects around 1970, but after that the media has played an important role in the social and political spheres,” he said.

The minister said after 2014, “democracy had emerged in Assam” that changed the headlines in newspapers. Where terrorism and corruption used to be the subjects of media, now good governance and prosperity are becoming the headlines, he said.

Dr Singh mentioned that Assam media should now set a target for the next 25 years. It should work on new ideas because the ideas give birth to action and without action achievement is not possible.

Prof Dwivedi said the completion of 175 years of media in Assam was an opportunity to remember the sacrifice of Assamese literature and media veterans who laid the foundation of media in the State. He said due to such great personalities, Assam had been a watchdog of the Northeast, and scores of visionaries in the region had contributed immensely to literature, culture, and spirituality.

Stating that Assam was known by the name of Bhupen Hazarika, Samudra Gupta Kashyap said people still did not know that he was the first person in the country to have a PhD degree in mass communication from Columbia University in 1949. He said the music maestro was not only a playback singer, lyricist, musician but also a skilled journalist.

PJ Baruah in his speech said the media in Assam originated by bringing people’s problems to the authorities in their own language. “Apart from Assamese, Hindi and English, other Indian languages made their significant contribution in resolving the problems of society through the media. The role of media has also changed over time, but its purpose still remains the same,” he said.

Pandey said there was a time when reporting against terrorism was a risky job in Assam. “During that period, many journalists lost their lives, but still, the media struggled for the truth. Today a phase of the competition has started in the Hindi media of Assam and due to this, the readers are getting to read the material according to their interest,” he added.

The proceedings were conducted by IIMC Dean of Student Welfare Prof Pramod Kumar. Prof Shashwati Goswami offered the vote of thanks.

Apart from a large number of people who took part in the programme through IIMC Facebook and YouTube pages, all students, faculty members and employees of IIMC also joined the webinar.