Bhubaneswar, Nov. 24
Working journalists in Odisha today decided to go for an indefinite agitation demanding fulfillment of their 7-point charter of demands. The scribes would stage silent protest on the first day of the winter session of the Assembly beginning on November 28.
The journalists belonging to different news papers, news channels, photo journalists and video journalists, mostly covering the state government and the Odisha Legislative Assembly, today took this decision at an urgent meeting held at Indira Gandhi Park here.
“Our demands are not new. The state government has been sitting over the demands of journalists for a very long time. We will continue to agitate till our demands are met,” said young journalist Birupakshya Tripathy adding that the journalists have little option than to take to agitational means because the state government has simply ignored the “genuine and just” demands of the scribes.
” While the state government claims to have welfare schemes for people ‘from the mothers womb to the graveyard’, it preferred to ignore the journalists who work day-in and day out covering news about different government programmes and yojanas,” said a senior photo journalist.
Media persons who took part in the meeting pointed out that despite having approached different quarters during the last 14 years, no action has been taken to redress the grievances of the media fraternity.
While the Central government as well as the state governments of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Punjab, Delhi, West bengal, Tripura and Chhattishgarh have implemented a host of welfare schemes for the journalists, the Odisha government, for unfathomable reasons have stopped certain facilities that were extended to journalists for years, a senior scribe pointed out.
Angry journalists also pointed out that while the cash-starved West Bengal government has announced different welfare schemes for the journalists, the so-called ‘cash surplus’ Odisha government has chosen to ignore the genuine needs and expectations of media persons and turned them into victims of discrimination.
The demands of the Odisha working journalists include immediate issuance of health card for scribes, pension scheme, government accommodation, creation of a corpus of journalist welfare fund and simplification of rules to ensure the needy persons are not denied benefits due to bureaucratisation and other just expectations.
The meeting resolved to submit fresh memoranda to Governor, Speaker of OLA, Chief Minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Secretary before sitting on a dharna on November 28.
Senior reporters, photo-journalists, video- journalists from leading media houses like Samaj, Sambad, Dharitri, Pragativadi, Samaya, Anupam Bharat, Prajatantra, Paryabekhyak, Times of India, Telegraph, Odisha Post, PTI, UNI, Tathya.in, odishasuntimes.com, NDTV, OTV, ETV, MBC TV, Naxatra TV, Kamayab TV and others attended the meeting and unanimously resolved to put up a united front to wrest their just demands through the proposed agitation.