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The freedom of expression is one of the most cherished values in a democracy, which is guaranteed in our Constitution. It enables the people to keep themselves well informed and facilitates their participation in the process of socio-economic development by offering a wide choice of opinion and alternative to decide on various local, regional and national issues. The department of information and Public Relations envisages for itself an effective role in empowerment of people by providing a free flow of information.
Under the present Government, the freedom of press has been fully restored. Yellow journalism is however, closely watched for legal action. Since there is a complete freedom of Press in the State the number of registered local newspapers which were around 20 before the present Government assumed power in 1994 has shot up to more than fifty at the moment.
Over 50 accredited newspapers are flourishing in Sikkim today. All registered local newspapers are entitled to Government. Display advertisements as per the position of the advertising budget. Te advertisement budget in the last 15 years has recorded a considerable increase from a mere Rs. 4 lakh in 1985 to Rs. 15.7 lakh in 1998 and to Rs.1.3 crores in 2002. Both display and classified advertisements are released to the Press on a regular basis.
Press Releases are delivered at their doorstep and photographs are given free of cost to media persons so that proper dissemination of the developmental activities of the Government can be achieved.
The relationship between the Press and the Government could not be better with mutual respect and non - interference in each other's domain. The State Press Accreditation Committee consisting of representatives of registered and recognized Press Associations including National Agencies reviews and considers the requests of newspapermen stationed in Sikkim for their accreditation.
The Sikkim Government has also helped to from the Press Club of Sikkim and has been granting Rupees one Lakh annually to meet various expenditures of the Club.
The Government of Sikkim is now negotiating with the Jamia Milia University, New Delhi from opening a multi- propose mass Communication Institute in the State.
Sikkim Herald the official newsweekly of the Government of Sikkim Published by the Department of Information and Public Relations has been a regular feature of the State ever since its inception in the early 1960S. Sikkim Herald comes out in thirteen different state languages, viz. English, Nepali, Newar, Lepcha, Gurung, Limbu, Tamang, Sunwar, Manger, Sherpa, Bhutia, Rai and Tibetan. This has been made possible due to policy decision of the state Government to recognize these languages as state languages. The publication of Sikkim Herald in local languages have made it a mass-based weekly where different communities read it in their own dialects and languages.
The online version of Sikkim Herald in all the thirteen different State languages is now available and can be accessed at www.sikkimipr.org.
Research and Reference Unit
Research and Reference Unit provides ready reference material for different publicity oriented activities and is an integral part of the functioning of this office. Under this unit a library is being maintained, wherein, Reference Books, Periodicals and Newspapers are kept. All the important newspapers are scanned daily for news and news clippings are prepared everyday. These clippings are sent to Chief Minister and the Secretaries and Heads of concerned departments.
This unit arranges Press Conferences, Press briefings and Press Tours and liaison with Press, Radio and T.V. The Press Cell is entrusted with the work of issuing of daily Press Releases. It also arranges other press related facilities for the media personnel.
This unit arranges hospitality for the press reporters and other media persons on the occasions of press conferences and press meets of the dignitaries of Sikkim Government.
This unit organizes the publicity of Sikkim Government through advertisements. The display and classified advertisements of various departments are issued on day to day basis and particularly on important occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti, Bhanu Jayanti, etc. The achievements and initiatives of the Government is also highlighted through National, Regional and Local Newspapers, periodicals, etc. Public awareness campaigns on various issues are also undertaken from time to time.
Photo unit arranges photo coverage of the functions and activities of various departments of the Government of Sikkim and releases photos to Press and Television for publicity. It also prepares photographs for T.V., exhibitions and photo albums.
Besides printing publicity literature, calendar, telephone directory etc., this unit also publishes, booklets, brochures, handbills and posters from time to time. Sikkim Herald in English, and thirteen languages is published wekly. Quarterly magazine ‘Sikkim Today’ in English is also brought out by this Unit.
Film & Video Publicity Unit
This unit is being developed for the production of the documentaries, short films, and release of films and cinema slides to cinema houses and video cassettes to Local Cables and Doordarshan and arranges film shows in the rural areas. This Unit will be required to provide a liaison officer for the teams, which come to Sikkim for shooting films. The unit will also make 'quickies' on Sikkim Government’s achievements, reflecting development in rural areas, upliftment of weaker sections, environment protection etc. in Sikkim.
Field Publicity Unit
This unit organizes photo exhibitions and cultural programmes to highlight the policies and programmes of the Government and also puts up banners, kiosks, electronic boards & hoardings for the information of general public on important issues and different campaigns of Sikkim Government. Organizing photo exhibitions is a regular feature of the Department and the exhibitions are put up in different parts of capital on various occasions.
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