TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Fairer Gender in the Media
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 17th April, 2007



From 1996, the media, especially the print media in Manipur has progressed tremendously and the men (only ?) responsible for the fast paced development of the print media are the publishers who were willing to invest their hard earned money in the latest technology and the growing tribe of educated, professional journalists.

The letter press was replaced by offset machines and from a one page newspaper what we have today are eight paged or six paged newspapers complete with multi colour pictures and fresh and attractive lay outs.

With the media growing at a rapid pace, its responsibility too has risen sharply and while in the earlier years, or the good days, as seniors are wont to put it, today working in a newspaper establishment means putting in odd hours and to be on call 24 hours a day.

From the technology used, to the growing professionalism as well as better marketing strategies, the media boom is on and we hope the good show continues so that the press of Manipur will one day feature on the media map of the world.

Despite the progress that we have mentioned above, there are still some issues which need to be discussed and thrashed out. The pay of the media persons has been deliberated and debated upon for years and it even reached the floor of the Assembly when Z Mangaibou was the Labour Minister.

There were talks about implementing the Manisana Wage Board but the ground reality is such that it would not be possible for the media establishments to implement the Wage Board for the simple reason that many of the newspaper houses are not in the position to generate the type of revenue according to which the pay and perks of the employees can be fixed as laid down vy the Wage Board.

While the debate over the pay and perks of the journalists will continue, let's also look at other equally important points.

What about retirement benefits ?
Has an age been fixed for journalists to attain superannuation ?
How about pension benefits ?
Is the current pension amount of about Rs 2000 practical at this time when the cost of living has gone up considerably ?
These are some of the points that need indepth study.

On the other hand there is also the growing need for all the newspaper establishments to see if any special policies can be worked out for the few women engaged in this profession.

At the start of this write up we had deliberately said only men were behind the new boom in journalism for the fact stands that only a very few women have taken up this vocation as a viable option.

There may be many reasons why women have not kept their doors open to journalism, the odd working hours being one, but at least, the journalist fraternity and the management of all the newspaper establishments need to think over how to attract women to this profession.

We are more than inclined to believe that there are a number of well educated, well read and articulate young women looking for job opportunities and who can beat their male counter parts.

The question is why not open the door of journalism to them ? To attract women to this primarily male dominated profession, we need to study a number of wide ranging issues. At the moment, majority of the few women engaged in this field are single.

Once they enter into wedlock, will the newspaper establishment employing them give them any maternity leave ? This is but just one of the questions that need to be seriously studied.

Another question which may appear trivial but is nevertheless very important is, how many of the newspaper houses in Manipur have separate toilet facilities for women ?

Think over it.





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