TEZPUR, Nov 29 - Urging journalists to play a vital role in safeguarding the values of democracy, Governor Prof Jagdish Mukhi today said that journalism is a huge and sacred responsibility. Prof Mukhi who came here to attend the Radhika Mohan Bhagawati, Prafulla Chandra Baruah, Hari Barman and Manik Deuri Memorial Journalism Awards organised by the All Assam Journalists� Union (AAJU) at the historic Baan Theatre here, addressing the gathering said that the question of good and evil, either for the individual or society, is associated with this sacred service. The way healthy journalism satisfies inquisitiveness, in the same way it also arouses the necessary strength for the overall welfare of the society. Unhealthy and untenable journalism will endanger the democracy of our country.
�So our journalist friends in order to know what role they can play to safeguard the values of democracy, must keep themselves informed of how journalists in England played a vital role to change the history of the country before the 18th century. Otherwise the adjective �Fourth Pillar� used by Edmund Burke for the journalists sitting in the gallery of the House of Commons, would lose its significance. As the Fourth Pillar of the State and democracy, our journalist friends must play a historic and important role with their healthy thoughts, activities and unique position to keep the values of democracy alive. If not they would lose their own historic recognition,� Prof Mukhi said. He added that journalists have to work within certain limitations in different times under different circumstances. Still with their limitations, they must work with honesty, sincerity and a deep sense of loyalty to the truth without attaching own personal emotions and vested interests. If they can publish news with utmost sincerity without being a party to any side, then newspapers, other media and journalists can play a decisive role to change the society by specially influencing the State, the society and the people.
He also stated in his speech that to investigate the truth and publish that truth is the task of journalists. But both the tasks are very hard and risky. Even then for the sake of justice, they must inquire into the truth for the people by taking on all hardships and risks. Then only people will know what is happening in the country and society without their knowledge. The editorial write-up of each newspaper must play a decisive role and must show the right way to the people. But not doing that if journalists try to increase the circulation of newspapers by publishing fabricated and sensational news, the electronic media tries to increase TRPs by peddling lies, if it tries to cripple the mind and brain of the people by feeding provocative news, then democracy would be threatened. A newspaper�s total outlook and ethics is unfolded through the editorial articles. As the editorial articles of newspaper function as a conscience of the paper, so an editor should draw objective conclusions from stated facts based upon evidence and on his consideration of the greatest good. He should never be motivated by personal interests. Reiterating the role of the journalist in building a good society, he also stated that the guiding slogan for the each journalist is � �Facts are sacred, comments are free�.
To consider the truth to be sacred by discarding lies is the principle of a journalist. Gandhiji considered it to be a crime to publish false news. He said, �False news is a crime against humanity...young India will be a State when truth becomes a State.� He said like ideology-less newspapers, ideology-less journalists are a threat to the society. Recalling the contribution of cultural icons Rupkownar Jyoti Prasad Agarwalla, Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha and Natasurya Phani Sarma, the Governor also said that Tezpur is a city entwined with the sacred memories of �Hari-Har� War and beautiful stories of �Usha-Chitralekha� on the north bank of the mighty river Brahmaputra and it is the place of Assamese national life and culture. He also released the book Itihashar Uchupanir Pam Khedi, by Pankaj Kumar Nath.
It needs mention here that the awards were presented to noted senior journalists Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, Chief Editor, Prag News, Munin Bayan, Executive Editor, Dainik Asam, Prasanta Rajguru, Editor, Amar Asom, Long Sing Teron, Thekkar, Diphu (Karbi Anglong) and Surya Thaosen, Dima Hasao Post. The programme was presided over by the president of AAJU, Pankaj Kumar Nath and conducted by senior journalist Pankaj Boruah. It started with borgeet presentation by noted radio artist Durga Moyee Bora. Besides other distinguished guests, the award function was also graced by the Advocate General, Government of Assam Dr Ramesh Chandra Borpatragohain, distinguished guests Dr Hitesh Deka, VC, Krishna Kanta Handique State Open University and DC, Sonitpur, MP Singh. Earlier, rich tributes were paid to noted journalists Late Radhika Mohan Bhagawati, Late Prafulla Chandra Baruah, Late Hari Barman and Late Manik Deuri by their family members.