By OUR STAFF REPORTER
DEHRADUN , 17 Oct: Journalists associated with various trade unions came on a common platform here, today, to protest against discriminatory policies of the state government. A meeting in this regard was held at Ujjwal Restaurant this afternoon. Speakers expressed anguish over the current policies of the state government which continue to discriminate against regional, small and medium scale newspapers and periodicals regarding advertisements and other facilities. Speaking on this occasion, Garhwal Post Editor Satish Sharma stressed on the need for journalists from different unions to come together and put up a collective fight against the discriminatory policies of the state government. He also called upon the journalists from small and medium scale newspapers to boycott government functions and official press briefings in order to make the government realise its folly in ignoring most publications in favour of just three or four ‘big’ publications. He also reminded that, on the one hand, the government was ignoring genuine and regularly published newspapers from the state while, on the other, it was willingly obliging publications from outside the state which were not even circulated here. President of Journalists’ Union of Uttarakhand, Arun Pratap Singh informed the meeting that in response to his letter written to the Press Council of India, the state information department’s clarification was full of blatant lies and false claims. He added that the biggest strength of the journalists was their pen which ought to be used to expose the inept, corrupt and discriminating officialdom. He called for setting up a joint forum of journalists from different unions to fight collectively in the greater interests of the media. Singh added that the government had amended rules related to the Uttarakhand Print Media Advertising Policy without consulting the unions and other media organisations, which was against the norms of the Press Council of India. Manmohan Lakheda said that advertisements worth crores of rupees were being given to only three to four newspapers, while the smaller newspapers were being ignored in violation of the norms in this regard. He added that the government could be made to bend if a joint and continuous fight was put up and if the journalists used their newspapers to voice their opinion in this regard on a continuous basis. He also called upon the journalists not to publish the government press releases. He added that getting advertisement in accordance with the provisions of the advertisement policy was a matter of right for the smaller publications, too. Shivprasad Semwal said that the government was grossly ignoring local papers and journalists. If a collective and joint fight was put up against the government, then the government would be forced to listen. He however cautioned against moles in the media and felt that they ought not to be tolerated. Others who spoke included Sampadak Parishad President IP Uniyal, who presided over the meeting, State General Secretary of the Working Journalists of India, Sunil Gupta, Dinesh Trikha, Sanjeev Pant, Trilok Chandra Bhatt, SP Uniyal, NisheetSaklani and Vijay Jaiswal. Among those present were senior journalist Ravindranath Kaushik, Girish Pant, Chetan Khadka, Praveen Mehta, Arun Kumar Monga, Sanjay Pathak, Virendra Dutt Gairola, Adhir Mukherjee, Keshav Pachauri, Ravindra Kapil, Deepak Gusani, Alok Sharma, Ravi Arora , Manju Sharma, Subhash Kumar, Deepak Gulani, Suryakant Belwal, Naveen Pandey, Surya Singh Rana, Amit Singh Negi, Sandeep Sharma, CR Bhatt, SN N Upadhyay, Bale Gupta, Suryaprakash Sharma, Vijay Sharma, Vijay Bhatt, Lalit Uniyal, Jay Singh Rawat, Digamber Upadhyay, Bina Upadhyay, Ashok Khanna, Hamendra, Sushil Chamoli, Ranjit Singh Rawat, Anil Shah, Virendra Singh, Tilakraj and Khalid.