GUWAHATI, Sept 26 - �Media is the conscience keeper of society. It must maintain a strict watch over the functioning of the government and criticise without hesitation whenever needed. Honest reporting about the government�s shortcomings would always help in delivering good governance.�
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal stated said while speaking as the chief guest at a programme organised at the Assam Administrative Staff College for distributing accreditation and recognition cards of the Information and Public Relations Department to 160 journalists of Assam.
Urging the journalists to join hands with the government in spreading awareness about superstitious beliefs, the Chief Minister said that building a scientific temperament among the young generation must be a priority to root out evil practices. The young generation must be motivated to work with a sense of patriotism and belief in democratic values, he stated.
Calling upon the media to write strongly whenever the government is found wanting while delivering on its commitments, Sonowal said that all four pillars of democracy must work in tandem to uphold democratic values and only media can instil the fear in the government by exerting on it the pressure to perform.
A free press is a prerequisite for a robust democracy and the government will accept the criticism and rectify its mistakes whenever pointed out by the press, he stated.
Saying that today�s generation, in the advent of technological development, expects prompt service in all spheres, Sonowal said that public representatives must carry out their duties with a sense of urgency to meet this demand of the young members of society.
Press has a strong role in keeping the elected representatives on their toes and making them accountable for their responsibilities, he stated.
The Chief Minister, who presented a cheque of Rs 10 lakh to Media Trust, also said that the government would consider providing yearly financial assistance to the Trust for carrying out its activities for the welfare of journalists.
He said that the proposal for increased government contribution to the corpus fund of the Journalist Medical Welfare Fund would also be considered.
The Chief Minister also assured full government cooperation in building a permanent campus of the Guwahati Press Club in a suitable location.
A book chronicling a trip to Rajasthan by 20-member media team, which was organised by the Information and Public Relations Department, was also released in today�s function by the Chief Minister.
Director of the Information and Public Relations, Government of Assam, Rajib Prakash Baruah delivered the welcome address, informing the gathering about various welfare schemes undertaken by the government for journalists.
Media Trust president Prasanta Jyoti Baruah and noted journalist Samudra Gupta Kashyap also spoke on the occasion. They made several proposals to the government for ensuring uplift and financial security of the journalist fraternity.