Puri, Jan 6:
Stating that the newspaper industry has now become a profit-making commercial enterprise, editor of premier Odia daily Sambad and chairman of Ama Odisha Soumya Ranjan Patnaik on Sunday urged the journalists to claim their legitimate salary and other facilities from the owners of the newspapers they work for, instead of expecting the the state government to help them out in the matter.
Addressing the annual function of the Puri District Journalists’ Association at the collector’s conference hall here, he said while the journalists have been effectively presenting the problems and grievances of the people through their reports, they are not able to do so when it comes to their own problems.
“Since the newspaper industry has of late become profit-making enterprises, the journalists have the right to put forth their basic and genuine demands before the owners. Why should the state government bother about the salaries of the journalists? The journalists should be content with whatever benefits they get from the government. But they should unitedly take up their problems and needs with regard to their salaries and perks with the media house owners”, Patnaik pointed out.
Patnaik said the people would not hesitate to pay an additional 5 paise for the newspaper they buy if that is to benefit the journalists on whom they repose their confidence and trust.
“About 18 lakh copies of vernacular newspapers are being sold everyday in Odisha. If the newspaper owners pay 10 paise per copy to the journalists working for them, there would be no problem of paying salaries to about 5000 journalists in the state. Of course the state government should also make efforts to ensure this happens, ” he added.
“The journalists should work with a sense of dignity and that can come if they are financially stable. Their financial problems can be solved if they take up their problems and put pressure on the owners through their associations,” Patnaik said.
Referring to the future of the print media, he said the growing popularity of the television and Internet news has posed a grave threat to the print media and that would be more acute in the next 10 years. He, however, lamented that while Odia newspapers have become a viable medium for the development and enrichment of Odia language, the younger generation appear more inclined towards English language and English dailies.
Supporting the observations made by Patnaik, chief guest and minister, Culture and Tourism, Law and Planning and Coordination Maheswar Mohanty said both newspaper owners and the state government should shoulder the responsibility of ensuring the welfare of the journalists
“The state government will do the needful if it receives specific proposals in this regard”, he said.
Among others, government deputy chief whip, president of Biju Yuva Janata Dal and Bramhagiri BJD MLA Sanjay Dasburma, Jagatsinghpur MP Bibhu Prasad Tarai, Puri Municipality chairman Jayant Kumar Sarangi and Puri sub collector Madhusudan Das also spoke on the occasion.
Eight senior journalists were felicitated by the guests on the dais..
The president of Puri District Journalists Association Akshaya Kumar Nayak presided over the function..