Alternate media users among the practicing journalists of Tripura have taken a pioneering initiative to form an organization named Tripura Web Media Forum (TWMF) with the aim of pursuing independent journalism from an alienated region of India. A tiny State of the region bordering Bangladesh, Tripura supports over 30 daily newspapers, few cable television channels and many news portals, mostly in Bengali, English and the Kokborok language. The State, with an area of 10,492 sq km and population of 3.66 million (2012), has wide readership of print media outlets.
The launching of the web media forum was initiated on 20 February at the Agartala Press Club with a delegate conference and a dialogue on Web Media – Importance and Challenges. Veteran journalist of the State, Gautam Kar Bhowmik inaugurated the dialogue, where the key note address was delivered by senior journalist Nava Thakuria.
Agartala based senior journalist Pranab Sarkar was honoured with the Justice S. M. Ali Award for Excellence in Journalism 2017 during the function. Syed Sajjad Ali, chief advisor of TWMF and Thakuria, who is the secretary of Journalists’ Forum Assam and Guwahati Press Club, handed over the award to Sarkar.
In his acceptance speech, Sarkar appreciated the forum as well as the service rendered by Justice S .M. Ali, who was the first judicial officer from Tripura in Gauhati High Court, the higher court for all northeastern States.
Presided over by the Tripura Chamber of Commerce & Industry chief M. L. Debnath, the dialogue facilitated at the event witnessed active participation by the media persons in response to Nava Thakuria’s point of views on alternate media. He termed it as the era of alternate media and opined that the mainstream media outlets should understand and reorganize to face the potential threats from the web media.
“There is no denying the fact that the limitation, partiality and the bias often adopted by some sections of mainstream newspaper and news channels have paved the way for the alternate media to grow in a faster pace. However, the web media is still lacking the credibility and it may need few more years to emerge as a trusted medium,” he said.
An extensive user of the alternate media, Thakuria also pointed out that ‘today we are living in a world of journalists as the number of scribes have increased because of easy web access’. He however asserted that committed journalists with professionalism will always remain as the leader