I attended the function on National Press Day, 2018 organised by Information and Public Relations Department in collaboration with Press Club of Sikkim at Chintan Bhawan today, with the theme – ‘Journalistic Ethics & Challenges in Digital Age.’

In my address, I stressed on the fact that for the successful working of a democratic government, the following are of paramount importance:-
i) Determined leadership,
ii) Effective bureaucracy,
iii) Responsible citizens and
iv) Responsible journalism.
Besides, as the fourth pillar of democracy, the press and media have equal responsibility as the other three organs of the Government – legislative, executive and judiciary. I appealed to the media persons to practise responsible journalism, journalism that would bring about betterment in the lives of the people.

In Sikkim, you will see that the fourth estate enjoys complete freedom as per the constitutional provisions. However, this freedom should not be taken for granted or utilized callously. I stressed on the fact that freedom of speech and freedom of expression enables journalists and media personnel to form opinions and communicate their views freely to the people. What they express whether in print or in electronic media, becomes information and facts for the people. Therefore, it is imperative for all journalists and reporters to understand their responsibility in disseminating information that is based on factual truth only. They must never go against the ethics of journalism by being biased or by concealing the truth.

I called upon the students to work hard with utmost dedication and innovative approach. We lag behind in various spheres as compared to not only the rest of the world but also with other parts of the Country having joined the Indian Union only in 1975. For example, it can be said that the rest of the world are in the advanced phase of the Industrial Revolution, whereas in Sikkim we are still in the nascent stage. So, there is a lot of catching up to do and our youngsters can play a crucial part in this regard. They must be positive and creative and not be bogged down by ‘third world mindset syndrome.’ The knowledge acquired by them along with the degrees and certificates must be properly utilized for personal success as well as for the betterment of the society, State and the Nation.

I made the following announcements:-

I. Construction of Press Club of Sikkim building by the State Government.

ii. Journalists of the 60 years and above will be granted pension from April, 2019.

iii. All pending bills of different media and publishing will be cleared within this financial year.

iv. Pension for Sikkim Sahitya Akademi Awardees will be doubled from the next financial year.

v. Introduction of pension for awardees of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan with Rs.10,000/-, Rs. 15,000/- and Rs. 20,000/- per month respectively from the next financial year.