GUWAHATI, March 15 – Senior journalist and editor of The Shillong Times Patricia Mukhim today said that the trend of ‘instant journalism’ was doing great disservice to a complicated region like the North-east.
“We do not have much reliance on history and in-depth analysis while doing news stories. We are having too much of instant journalism, which is harming the cause of journalism and is a factor behind poor representation of the region,” she said while delivering the Kamal Gogoi Memorial Lecture on ‘Does Assam have space in national media?’ organised on the occasion of the 123rd working committee meeting of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists at the Shilpgram auditorium.
The noted journalist also asserted that without high-quality journalism Indian democracy would wither and “even die a slow death.”
While stating that the national media was creating a huge rift by leaving out the North-east, Mukhim also felt that the local journalists, especially the correspondents of national dailies, were also to blame partially for the trend.
“Blaming the managements for the neglect of the region is not always correct because if you present an incisive and analytical news story, the management is sure to give you space,” she added.
Holding Delhi responsible to some extent for the ills plaguing the region, Mukhim said that the Union Government had complicated matters by viewing the region through the prism of security, with the obsessive approach continuing till today.
“Manipur has a population of 30 lakh but the number of security personnel present in the state is 55,000 – that too excluding the state police. The North-east does not want to secede from India and only wants some autonomy and the power to make its own plans and policies,” she said, adding that the academia of the North-east too, failed in engaging Delhi in a meaningful manner to extract the legitimate concessions.
The 24 MPs from the North-east too, Mukhim said, had failed to play the desired role, as “they rarely utter a word in Parliament.”
Pointing out that the North-east was receiving substantial funds from the Union Government in recent years, Mukhim said that it was not translating in tangible benefits for the masses due to the absence of monitoring and evaluation. “In the tribal NE States, it’s the tribal elite that has benefitted,” she said.
Earlier in the morning, the working committee meet was presided over by K Vikram Rao, president of IFWJ.
The three-day working committee meeting of IFWJ hosted by the Assam Union of Working Journalists, will conclude tomorrow.