Guwahati: Something alarming has been reported from Assam where a payment-list of lakhs of rupees to a section of Assam media houses and scribes went viral in social media.
The development started with a sheet of exposed paper, written as confidential, that depicted a list of beneficiaries among some mainstream media houses based in Silchar and Guwahati.
Claimed as prepared on October 21, 2020, the list mentions a number of satellite news channels (Pratidin Time, Assam Talks, Prag News, News Live, NE Live) and newspapers (Niyamiya Barta, Jugasankha, Dainik Prantajyoti, Navabarta Prasanga, Samayik Prasanga, etc.) along with a press association as being offered monthly contribution (protection money) by the truckers.
It also added the name of Sanjib Jaiswal (owner of news channel DY365), Manoj Nath (president of Guwahati Press Club) with a few others along with the Cachar police, Karimganja police (in Assam) and Meghalaya police personnel as due beneficiaries.
The expenditure to carry ‘coil’ (coal?) involving payments to media groups (even though the particular paper is not authenticated) may trigger huge repercussions among the common people, argued Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA). In a statement, the forum has already expressed grave concern over the exposure and appealed to all concerned media persons (named in the list) to clarify their stand effectively.
“The paper is made viral in social media including influential WhatsApp groups which would multiply the number of viewers within a short span of time even the mainstream media may ignore the revelation,” said JFA president Rupam Barua adding that the media should stand united and react to the development collectively at the earliest.