As the COVID-19 continues its destructive sweep across the world, the economy of the country the media industry in India and Assam is also facing problems on account of it. Assam Congress President Ripun Bora, coming to the support of the industry, has urged the Government to provide an economic package for the ailing industry.
The Assam Congress President said, "Media personnel are frontline warriors, not only during this period of COVID-19 pandemic but also during any time of crisis", Bora said, adding, "They and their families should not be made to suffer on account of temporary losses faced by media houses."
Bora also urged the Central government should also consider providing a stimulus package for the media sector, with special emphasis on the print media to help it tide over this crisis.
In Assam, the media, and specially, the print media, have played a vital role in nation building since the pre-Independence era. Bora said. "Assam government should also take steps to help the local and regional media houses of the State. Some sort of subsidy or stimulus to local and regional media houses will come handy to revive the sector at this crucial moment."
Ripun Bora, lamenting that many national media houses, instead of working together with their employees at this time of crisis, have resorted to pay cuts and sackings and force many staff members to take leave without pay, has termed this development as "very unfortunate".
Bora said that leading groups such as The Times of India have already sacked many employees, while others like The Indian Express and Business Standard have announced pay cuts. "There are also reports that local media houses in many parts of India are also likely to take similar steps. This will impact tens of thousands of media sector employees and their families", the AICC President said.
Bora further pointed out that the Prime Minister himself has urged companies not to sack employees or resort to measures like salary cuts at this time of global pandemic.
Many media organizations have been in existence for decades and a temporary loss of advertising revenue or subscribers base for a period of one or two months should not lead to a situation where thousands of their employees lose jobs or face salary cuts, he further said and urged all media houses across India, including Assam, not to resort to staff retrenchment or salary cuts.
Bora also said that journalists and media personnel of Assam should be immediately brought under coverage of the health insurance scheme announced recently by the State government for staffs of other frontline and emergency services. "In addition, journalists, like health workers, police and security personnel, and other emergency services staffs, are working round the clock in Assam at this time of pandemic to bring news to the public and help the government in the fight to prevent spread of COVID-19", he added.
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