When an Assamese Magazine Rejects Advertisements on Principle
By Nava Thakuria
Is it possible for a magazine to survive in today's word without depending on the commercial advertisement revenues? Can a general magazine, supported by no organization but only by its readers, dare to avoid the advertisements just to endorse its principle? Or is there such an initiative in India or elsewhere?The answer is yes and it is in Assam (of Northeast India), where a fortnightly magazine named 'Prantik' has created a kind of history by its policy of not entertaining the advertisers. The magazine in Assamese language survives with the support of the readers only. It has an approximate25000 circulation. But amazingly Prantik is distributed in more than 25 countries including America and Europe.The editor of Prantik, Pradip Baruah revealed many of such surprises in an interactive session at Guwahati Press Club on December 20 last. Attending the programme titled 'Guest of the Month', Baruah said that initially they used to publish advertisements of different products including cigarette and hard drinks. In fact Prantik was pioneer in Northeast to accommodate space for coloured ads."But many of our readers wrote to avoid such advertisements only because of some money. They even advised us to increase the price of the magazine instead of going for the advertisements of those unhealthy products. Then we stopped publishing such advertisements and made an official declaration in this regard. Later we decided not to publish any commercial advertisements, because many times it demanded unfair practices," Baruah declared.Answering various questions of the reporters, Baruah admitted that the volume of serious readers were not increasing as desired in the last decade, but he hoped that time would where more and more people start accepting the reading habit as their passions.He also expressed optimism that the identity of Assamese society would be intact even if the number of Assamese speaking people would reduce to few lakhs (now in crores) or they be out of political power or influences. It may be mentioned that Baruah started his magazine more than two decades back with the eminent litterateur, playwright and filmmaker Dr Bhabendranath Saikia as the chief editor. After the untimely demise of Dr Saikia, Baruah led the team to continue publishing Prantik from Guwahati with all his vigour and commitments. Guwahati, which is emerged as the virtual capital of Northeast, houses more than 20 major daily newspapers with thousands periodicals including magazines. Most of those are published from Guwahati and other places of Assam, where as some metro dailies have Guwahati editions as well. Though Assamese is the native languages for most of the people, English and Hindi are well recognised and accepted for communication by more than 26 million habitants in Assam. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia describes Prantik as 'a multi-topic Assamese magazine published fortnightly from Guwahati since 1981.' It plays a vital role in the socio-political lives of the people of Assam, the internet encyclopedia added. "With every issue of Prantik, I actually pay my heartiest tribute to Sir (Dr Saikia)," revealed Baruah, who is also the publisher of the magazine.Born in Dibrugarh in 1938, Baruah started his working life in The Assam Tribune group of publications since 1960. The third son of RG Baruah, a legendary Assamese personality, Baruah continued working for the prestigious and the oldest media house in Northeast India till 1980. Then he came out with the idea of a magazine, which can nurture the rational needs of the society. "I want to maintain Prantik neither as a hot commodity nor a cold entity, but a warm creation," Baruah added."When it (Prantik) started with a comprehensive approach covering almost all aspects of the State's society, it was accepted as a trendsetter by the readers. Though started with the established writers, in course of time, it created a new set of writers signaling the advent of another new era in the Assamese world of literature and journalism," commented Ajit Patowary, a Guwahati based senior journalist.Prantik today covers varieties of sections including politics, agriculture, industry, health, economics, literature, travelogue, film, theatre, art & culture with science and environment. Till date Prantik has created a number of writer-journalists. More over the magazine provides significant space for the readers, where they can raise issues, discuss about their concerns and some times talk about their personal feelings that might have social relevance.Samir Sandilya, a regular reader of Prantik since his childhood, observed, "I find it astonishing how a modern day magazine can deny to entertain the advertisers.' This is a well known fact that every media house in the country installs a smart and strong ads department as a priority. Media pundits often discuss about the growing influence of advertisers in editorial policy of a newspaper. Ads normally come with additional inputs to media space. And many times, it is observed that those inputs are really opposite to the original policy of the newspapers but the management fails to stick to their norm. However, another avid reader of Prantik, Lakshya Gohain apprehends it as a 'risk factor' for a largely circulated commercial magazine. "Moreover, I do not see any reason to reject commercial advertisements with contents those are not against social values," said Gohain while adding that we wants Prantik to survive hundred years with an aim to grow more and more enlightening people in the region.During interaction, Baruah disagreed that the new generation Assamese with English as their language of education would forget their own language. "I have many writers in Prantik, who had educated themselves in English medium, but write in Assamese. And they have proved themselves prolific contributors," he asserted."I find the job to read hundred letters (to the editor) and select some of those for publication very passionate. Those letters, which may come from a remote village of Assam or a city of western countries, actually carry the feelings of the readers. It is not only exciting but also refreshing all the times," Baruah concluded.
|Mr. Pradip Baruah, the editor of Prantik speaks at Guest of the Month porgram about the secrets of his magazine.|
Bharat: Nurturing Nationalism with National ...
POK Editor Bats for More Exchanges
Cries Mounted for Reviving Nabin Chandra ...
Scam, Media Outburst and Its Aftermath
Amidst Chinese Threat Dalai Lama Concludes ...
Asserting Media Person’s Rights in India
China’s Myanmar Bonanza Sans Responsibility
Manufacturing Misguided Protests in Assam
Assam Forum Bats for Work Permits to ...
Bhupen-da Came alive with Dhola-Sadiya Bridge ...
Remembering My Principal Sir!
Saluting Tricolour to Defy Militants’ Diktat ...
Underlining India’s Productive Engagement in ...
Young Journalist Killed in India, ...
Unpaid Media Employees of Northeast India
Journalist Body Urges Political Parties to ...
Saving the Tigers from Extinction
Glorious Tribute to Bhupenda
Burmese Students Term New Government Bogus
Burma Turns Hostile to Indian Separatist Groups
Northeast India Rediscovers Tricolour
Indian People’s Win Inspires Burmese Activists
Nobel Support for a Noble Cause
Activists Condemn India’s Arm Deal with Burma
Protest Note from Guwahati Press Club
Journalists’ Killings: Justice Eludes in ...
Games Gogoi Played In Assam Polls
Remembering Parag: Assam’s Way
Helicopter Missing from Northeast Indian Sky
Allegations Poured on Indian Premier
Allegations Fired at Indian Premier
Rising Resentment against Corruption in India
Satellite News Channel Launched in Northeast ...
Looking at Burma's Forthcoming General ...
Burma Election, Refugees and Media’s Role
When British Newspaper Tenders Apology to ...
TST Contributor Honored with Excellence Award
Burning Rhino Horns: Creating Controversy
Condemning Military Election in Burma
Protest against Military Election in Burma
Burmese Demonstrates Anger against Junta
Assam: A Pretending Warrior and Peace ...
South-eastern Bangladesh Erupts in Violence
Grim Picture of Human Rights in India
Burma on Radar as New Delhi Prepares
Assam: Where People Defy Militant's Diktat
Bangladesh Readies to Hang Bangabandhu Killers
International Film Festival Begins in Guwahati
RK Pachauri under Attack from British Media
Selling News Space Culture in India: Concerns ...
Asian MPs Insist on a Free & Fair 2010 Burma ...
Guwahati Festival to Highlight Terrorism
Assam: Brutal Armed Group, Incompetent ...
Without Suu Kyi, 2010 Polls Have No Meaning
Beijing Eyes Northeast India !
Bumpy Road to Copenhagen
Nava Thakuria Elected Assistant Gen. Sec. of ...
Northeast India: People Defy Militant’s ...
Northeast India: Waiting for Justice for 18 ...
Northeast India : Where Protector Turns Killer
Raising Support for Democracy in Burma
Indian Muslims Raise Voices for Uighurs
Will Captive Breeding of Vultures Work?
Northeast India: Trailing a Notorious Rebel
Is Burma Junta Learning from Cyclone Nargis!
Is a Nepali Fugitive Winning Indian Election?
When Politician Uses Scribe for Vested Interest
Assam Editor Killing: Protest Continues
Freedom under Chinese Boot in Tibet
Pride and Poverty: India's Amazing Blending
Sri Lankan Crisis: Shelling on Hospital ...
Northeast India Defies Militant's Diktat:
Woman Journalist Killed in Nepal
Urging for Insurance Coverage to Media Persons
Bangladesh: Waiting for a Stable Democratic ...
ULFA Leader Appeals UNHCR for Political Asylum
Assam Mourns Death of Mumbai Terror Attack
Bangladesh Polls: Apprehension on Final Outcome
Manipur Asks for CBI Probe into Scribe's ...
Scribe's Killing in Northeast: Demand for ...
'Suspend Burma from BIMSTEC'
Guwahati Citizens Meet to Discuss Terrorism
Group Clashes Shock Northeast India
When Media Distorts Facts to Manufacture News
Where Editors Swindle Reporters
Calling upon Comprehensive Packages for ...
Highlighting Media's Challenge and ...
Media on Media' Glitch: An Exercise of ...
An Ignited Assam Baffles ULFA
Assam Defies Militant's Diktat to Celebrate ...
Journalists Dare to Defy Militants' Diktat
When Bangladeshi Influx Ignites Assam
Nepal Can Expect a Consensus of Government Soon
Victorious Maoists Lose Battle for Kathmandu
India: Assam Party Waits for an Opportunity
Burma after Nargis: Devastated, Depressed and ...
When a Disastrous Regime Continues
Exposing Corrupt Journalists of Our Time
Nepal Waits a Republic Regime: Diasporas Don't ...
Waiting for Consensus on Government in Nepal
Condemnation Pours on Burmese Junta as Suu ...
American-Assamese Preparing White Paper on ...
Assam Government Bows Down to Public Outrages
Shaky Start to Druk Democracy
India and Burma Push Joint Project
Bhutan Turns Democratic
Disregarding Public Outcry: Assam Government's ...
Army, Police Heads Become Governors in North ...
Rhinos Dwindle as Poaching Thrives in India
Taste of Democracy in Bhutan Is Not for ...
Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul
Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes
articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove,
and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org