East by northeast, chief ministers are refusing to take negative press lying down. After West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, her Assam counterpart, Tarun Gogoi, has announced that his government will also launch a television channel soon.
The immediate trigger for Gogoi’s decision is local news coverage of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom’s 12-hour Assam bandh during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the state on April 20.
“News channels’ coverage of Ulfa’s Assam bandh created an impression among common people that Paresh Barua (Ulfa chief) is all in all and we have no control. The coverage was exaggerated. The PM came, all his programmes passed off peacefully. TV channels’ news should have credibility,” Gogoi said at a press meet on Monday.
Gogoi also criticised private news channels of ignoring development issues. “Our success stories on development issues are not being properly highlighted. We need our own channel to highlight our achievements. We have taken the decision to launch our own TV channel.”
Gogoi lauded Banerjee’s decision to launch a state-owned newspaper and TV channel. “I realise the importance of the government having its own TV channel. I am following Mamata Banerjee’s step.”
Gogoi’s proposed TV channel would also provide correct information on government policies and showcase education, health and agriculture sector programmes.