Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
Letters from India
Where Editors Swindle Reporters
By Nava Thakuria
Special Correspondent
Joseph Pulitzer
is the world famous Hungarian-born American journalist and Pulitzer Prize founder. He is the role model for young journalists around the world. His money led to the foundation of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Missouri School of Journalism.

Editors in newspapers are regarded as guide and mentors for the reporters. More over, an editor is recognized as the ultimate leader of the news desk, who takes the responsibility to direct the whole media team for a sustained growth. The editor also provides space for the promising reporters to enrich their experiences, such that they can prosper in the profession. But could an editor turn into a selfish individual, who does not hesitate to get the reporters deprived of a momentous opportunity?

A debate has grown up in Assam following an unfortunate incident, where an Assamese editor was dropped from the Prime Minister's 10-day trip to America and Europe recently. Haider Hussain, the chief editor of Asomiya Pratidin, was invited by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA of India) to be the part of 35-member media team accompanying Dr. Manmohan Singh to United States and France. But his visa was delayed and hence Hussain could not board the Prime Minister's flight.

Mentionable that the Prime Minister Dr. Singh had left abroad on Sept. 22, 2008 with a number of engagements like addressing the 63rd session of the UN General Assembly, attending the UN High Level Event on Millennium Development Goals, and meeting the political heads of China, Italy, Namibia, Pakistan, the United Kingdom with the US and France for bilateral relations.

Dejected Hussain later flied back to his home city, Guwahati. Talking to a section of reporters in Guwahati, Hussain asserted, "It was a big humiliation for me. I am shocked that the External Affairs ministry did not forward necessary initiatives when the US Embassy in New Delhi informed that they needed more time to clear my visa application. It only shows how helpless our government is before Washington."

Hussain arrived in New Delhi after he received the letter from MEA and appeared for the visa interview on September 17 at the US Embassy. But his visa was unbelievably delayed. Later the MEA spokesperson, Vishnu Prakash informed Hussain that the US Embassy might take few more weeks to clear his visa.

"Following the incident, for the first time in my life, I have felt that I am a Muslim and a minority. I had no such feelings earlier and it was the humiliation that forced me to rethink on my religious identity. In fact, our government did nothing to expedite my visa procedures," added Hussain.

The local newspapers of Assam flashed the news on September 23 quoting Hussian, where he revealed that he had already sent protest letters to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and also the MEA. The news described that Hussain was deeply hurt at the unfortunate incident and it forced him to think that he was a minority. Few organizations even came out with condemnation against the misconduct of the US government towards Hussain.

However, the working journalists in the State possess different view-points in this respect. They argue that Hussain's visa was delayed by the US Embassy, as Washington might have some reservations against him. It may be because of his Muslim identity or his influence on the banned United Liberation Front of Assam, as the ULFA remained as a terrorist organization till date for the American government.

It is noteworthy that Hussain was chosen as a member of the People's Consultative Group (PCG) by the ULFA leaders to pursue peace talks with New Delhi three years back. The PCG, led by Dr Indira (Mamoni Raisom) Goswami, an award wining Assamese writer, met the Prime Minister Dr Singh with other high level officials three times in the national capital during 2005. Presently the PCG has been pulled out of the peace process with New Delhi, but it continues to exist.

"If you are not given visa by an Embassy in New Delhi, the government of India has nothing to do; because that was the decision of a foreign government. Same thing may happen to any one foreign national, where the Indian Embassy in that country can delay or finally reject his (or her) visa application," argued a Guwahati based senior journalist cum political commentator.

Similarly, many journalist-editors expressed annoyance after Hussain played the minority card. They pointed out that, if he had availed the opportunity to accompany the Prime Minister for the series of important events in the US and France, it would have been an excellent example, where the Indian Foreign ministry paved way for a Muslim editor to take the break.

A Guwahati based Muslim editor also expressed unhappiness over the comment of Hussain and urged him not to take illegitimate advantage of being a Muslim. He commented, "I do not think, a senior editor like Hussain should make such a statement. In case of mine, I have never been ill treated in the society because of my religious identity."

Another major question that arises here, why the editors (occasionally the proprietors) of the State always rush to accompany the President, Prime Minister or other VIPs to foreign countries? The invitation letters for such events naturally come to the editor, but it hardly means that he himself should join the program. Rather the political reporters or correspondents deserve the opportunity, as they could do justice to the assignment.

Om Thanvi, the editor-in-chief of Daily Janasatta, a sister publication of the Indian Express group, raised the issue few weeks back in Guwahati. Delivering the 8th Kamala Saikia memorial lecture on August 9 in the city, Thanvi questioned the editors, why they could not leave such opportunities to his own colleagues.

"If they (editors) are not tracking the international politics, how they dare to cover such important events efficiently and authentically. Accompanying a VVIP to a foreign country should be treated as an important event for news and not necessarily as a status symbol to the editors," Thanvi added.

Speaking to this writer, a senior public relation official in the PMO informed that the invitation letter from his office normally addresses the editor and asks for a representative of the media house to cover the PM's trip.

"We normally want diplomatic correspondents or political reporters to accompany the VVIP for such kinds of important events in abroad. The letter should not be treated as an individual offer to the editor," the officer clarified. He however admitted that his office cannot make choice. It is absolutely an editor's prerogative, he concluded.

"The editors always play safe games. They put deaf ears to the grievances of the reporters (also sub-editors) all the time. Most of the reporter and news desk employees in Assam do not enjoy the satisfactory salaries. They neither enjoy the job security. But when it comes to an opportunity (read a foreign trip), they do not hesitate to grab it. This is really very unfortunate," commented another senior journalist, who used to lead a newspaper employee's union years back in Guwahati.

For records, over 80% journalists and non-journalist newspaper employees in Assam do not get the proper appointment letters even after working for years in the same media house. They have to work with lump sum salaries and mostly without their due benefits like the Provident Fund and leave facilities.

The concerned authority (labour commissioner) and the government remain mute spectators to the grievances of the newspaper employees, not to speak of initiating for the implementation of the statutory wage board. And shamefully, not a single editorial has been published on the issue of deprivation of media persons (under the Indian Labour Act) during the long history of newspapers in the region.

Related Articles
    When Sarsanghchalak Emphasises on Nature ...
    Worshiping Motherland as a Deity: An Indian ...
    Durga Puja sans Idols at Kamakhya Temple
    Searching for Roots through a Literature ...
    Welcome to Pragjyotishpur Literature Festival
    Questioning Credibility of Editors Guild of ...
    When 177 Global Leaders Stand behind Prof. ...
    Manifesting Patriotism on I-Day
    Raising Demand for a Media Grievance Cell
    India: Rhetoric Boycott Call by Separatist ...
    Banning Polygamy with Consensus
    No End to NRC Controversy
    Protecting Rhinos in Manas National Park
    When Scribes Face Corruption Charges and ...
    Complainant to Re-approach Court on NRC Assam ...
    My Unforeseen Journey as a Scribe
    Converting Profit Hungry APDCL to Consumer ...
    Dreaming of a World with Three Zeros
    After Two Years of Military Coup Myanmar Heads ...
    When India’s Highest Court Faces an Unwanted ...
    Riding City Buses in Guwahati
    When Rumour Kills a Mainstream Newspaper!
    Dissecting Assam NRC for Better Understanding
    Vehicular Speed That Kills Millions of Indians ...
    Intriguing Debate on Automobile Mishap
    Projecting Guwahati as a Krira Prangan
    New York Times: Editions, Visibility, ...
    Northeast Celebrates I-Day with Full Patriotic ...
    Marching Ahead with the Spirit of Swatantra ...
    Time for Journalists to Be Cautious, Authentic ...
    Prakash: Throwing Light on Tibetan Literature ...
    When Repeated FIRs Lodged against an IAS ...
    Developing Guwahati as a people-friendly city
    Negating PSO Culture among Media Persons
    Losing Public Goodwill: Assam Media's Way
    Global Award to Journalist Nava Thakuria
    India’s Restive Region Sets to End 2021 ...
    RSS Condemns Islamist Attacks on Hindu ...
    When RSS Chief Bhagwat Articulates Agendas
    Let’s Talk about Self-Reform and Financial ...
    'Self-reform and Financial Transparency in ...
    Tibet Sympathizers to Lodge Protest against ...
    Prof. Yunus Receives Laurel, Bangladesh Adds ...
    India Practices Secularism, Democracy and ...
    Needed a Scientific Probe into Bamunipahar ...
    Pandemic-Hit Book Publishers Eye for Openings
    India: Persisting Vulnerability to Scribes
    Bharat: Nurturing Nationalism with National ...
    POK Editor Bats for More Exchanges
    Cries Mounted for Reviving Nabin Chandra ...
    Scam, Media Outburst and Its Aftermath
    Amidst Chinese Threat Dalai Lama Concludes ...
    Asserting Media Person’s Rights in India
    China’s Myanmar Bonanza Sans Responsibility
    Manufacturing Misguided Protests in Assam
    Assam Forum Bats for Work Permits to ...
    Bhupen-da Came alive with Dhola-Sadiya Bridge ...
    Remembering My Principal Sir!
    Saluting Tricolour to Defy Militants’ Diktat ...
    Underlining India’s Productive Engagement in ...
    A Conservator Constitutional Head in Northeast ...
    Young Journalist Killed in India, ...
    Unpaid Media Employees of Northeast India
    Journalist Body Urges Political Parties to ...
    Saving the Tigers from Extinction
    Glorious Tribute to Bhupenda
    Burmese Students Term New Government Bogus
    Burma Turns Hostile to Indian Separatist Groups
    Northeast India Rediscovers Tricolour
    Indian People’s Win Inspires Burmese Activists
    Nobel Support for a Noble Cause
    Activists Condemn India’s Arm Deal with Burma
    Protest Note from Guwahati Press Club
    Journalists’ Killings: Justice Eludes in ...
    Games Gogoi Played In Assam Polls
    Remembering Parag: Assam’s Way
    Helicopter Missing from Northeast Indian Sky
    Allegations Poured on Indian Premier
    Allegations Fired at Indian Premier
    Rising Resentment against Corruption in India
    Satellite News Channel Launched in Northeast ...
    Looking at Burma's Forthcoming General ...
    Burma Election, Refugees and Media’s Role
    When British Newspaper Tenders Apology to ...
    TST Contributor Honored with Excellence Award
    Burning Rhino Horns: Creating Controversy
    Condemning Military Election in Burma
    Protest against Military Election in Burma
    Burmese Demonstrates Anger against Junta
    Assam: A Pretending Warrior and Peace ...
    Southeastern Bangladesh Erupts in Violence
    Grim Picture of Human Rights in India
    Burma on Radar as New Delhi Prepares for ...
    Assam: Where People Defy Militant's Diktat
    Bangladesh Readies to Hang Bangabandhu Killers
    International Film Festival Begins in Guwahati
    RK Pachauri under Attack from British Media
    Selling News Space Culture in India: Concerns ...
    Asian MPs Insist on a Free & Fair 2010 Burma ...
    Guwahati Festival to Highlight Terrorism
    Assam: Brutal Armed Group, Incompetent ...
    Without Suu Kyi, 2010 Polls Have No Meaning
    Beijing Eyes Northeast India !
    Bumpy Road to Copenhagen
    Nava Thakuria Elected Assistant Gen. Sec. of ...
    Northeast India: People Defy Militant’s ...
    Northeast India: Waiting for Justice for 18 ...
    Northeast India : Where Protector Turns Killer
    Raising Support for Democracy in Burma
    Indian Muslims Raise Voices for Uighurs
    Will Captive Breeding of Vultures Work?
    Northeast India: Trailing a Notorious Rebel
    Is Burma Junta Learning from Cyclone Nargis!
    Is a Nepali Fugitive Winning Indian Election?
    When Politician Uses Scribe for Vested Interest
    Assam Editor Killing: Protest Continues
    Freedom under Chinese Boot in Tibet
    Pride and Poverty: India's Amazing Blending
    Sri Lankan Crisis: Shelling on Hospital ...
    Northeast India Defies Militant's Diktat:
    Woman Journalist Killed in Nepal
    Urging for Insurance Coverage to Media Persons
    Bangladesh: Waiting for a Stable Democratic ...
    ULFA Leader Appeals UNHCR for Political Asylum
    Assam Mourns Death of Mumbai Terror Attack
    When an Assamese Magazine Rejects ...
    Bangladesh Polls: Apprehension on Final Outcome
    Manipur Asks for CBI Probe into Scribe's ...
    Scribe's Killing in Northeast: Demand for ...
    'Suspend Burma from BIMSTEC'
    Guwahati Citizens Meet to Discuss Terrorism
    Group Clashes Shock Northeast India
    When Media Distorts Facts to Manufacture News
    Calling upon Comprehensive Packages for ...
    Highlighting Media's Challenge and ...
    Media on Media' Glitch: An Exercise of ...
    An Ignited Assam Baffles ULFA
    Assam Defies Militant's Diktat to Celebrate ...
    Journalists Dare to Defy Militants' Diktat
    When Bangladeshi Influx Ignites Assam
    Nepal Can Expect a Consensus of Government Soon
    Victorious Maoists Lose Battle for Kathmandu
    India: Assam Party Waits for an Opportunity
    Burma after Nargis: Devastated, Depressed and ...
    When a Disastrous Regime Continues
    Exposing Corrupt Journalists of Our Time
    Nepal Waits a Republic Regime: Diasporas Don't ...
    Waiting for Consensus on Government in Nepal
    Condemnation Pours on Burmese Junta as Suu ...
    American-Assamese Preparing White Paper on ...
    Assam Government Bows Down to Public Outrages
    Shaky Start to Druk Democracy
    India and Burma Push Joint Project
    Bhutan Turns Democratic
    Disregarding Public Outcry: Assam Government's ...
    Army, Police Heads Become Governors in North ...
    Rhinos Dwindle as Poaching Thrives in India
    Taste of Democracy in Bhutan Is Not for ...

Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove, and can be contacted at






The Seoul Times, Shinheung-ro 36ga-gil 24-4, Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 82-10-6606-6188 Publisher & Editor: Joseph Joh
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange