PCA demands probe against coal mafia-media nexus
Guwahati: ‘Press Club of Assam’ (PCA), while expressing serious concern over the ongoing debates over illegal payments by the coal mafia to a section of media houses and scribes based in Guwahati and Silchar, today demanded a high level probe to investigate the matter.
Urging State chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, the duly registered press club pointed out that the enquiry becomes necessary for
maintaining the image of mainstream media and also the government in Dispur. It may be mentioned that sensation continues to prevail in the northeastern media space after an unauthenticated list of news channels, newspapers and media persons of Assam, involved in illegal tax collections in the tune of crores of rupees per month from the coal-carrying truckers, went viral on social media. The issue has also been extensively reported by a number of media outlets inside and outside the region.
The list, understandably prepared on 21 October 2020, narrates monthly contributions (read protection amount) to several satellite news channels (Pratidin Time, Assam Talks, Prag News, News Live, NE Live) and newspapers (Niyomia Barta, Jugsankha, Dainik Prantajyoti, Navabarta Prasanga, Samayik Prasanga, etc). It also included Sanjib Joiswal (owner of news channel DY365), Manoj Nath (president of Guwahati Press Club) along with Cachar police, Karimganj police (in Assam) and Meghalaya police personnel.
Meanwhile, the scribes of various media organizations like Journalists’ Forum Assam, Hailakandi Press Club, Karimganj Press Club,
etc expressed serious concern over the exposure of the payment-list and insisted on clarifying the matter effectively by the mainstream media. They asserted that the media houses and scribes (mentioned in the list) should clarify their stand for the sake of maintaining the image of State media.
“We demand the government to declare a probe into the coal mafia-media nexus urgently to find the truth,” said a statement issued by PCA president Kailash Sarma, working president Nava Thakuria and general secretary Hiren Chandra Kalita, adding that it would help both the State based media fraternity and the Sonowal-led government which routinely claims to maintain the policy of zero-tolerance to corruption.