Mizoram Journalists’ Association (MJA), an umbrella body of all working journalists in the state has begun the celebration of the golden jubilee. The organisation will turn 50 years in March this year.

The scribes body on Friday organised a jubilee torch lighting programme across the state, while some district MJA erected memorial stones in view of the golden jubilee.

Former Mizoram chief minister and founder president of MJA Lal Thanhawla kicked off the year-long celebration of the golden jubilee by lighting a torch in Aizawl.

Speaking on the occasion, Lal Thanhawla recalled how he and a handful of journalists founded the Mizoram Journalists’ Association, which now survives as the lone journalists’ body in Mizoram, in 1972. Lal Thanhawla was the editor of Mizo daily newspaper Mizo Aw when he became the first president of the scribes’ body.

Citing that they knew little about journalism in those days, the founder president said many of the newspapers in the past failed to have editorials and sometimes very biased by giving undue favour or blaming individuals.

Lal Thanhawla said he was delighted to witness the significant progress that journalism in Mizoram has made during the last 50 years.

Citing that journalists played a crucial role in shaping public opinion, the journalist turned politician urged the scribes to enrich the Mizo language and train the new generations in this regard.

“Although Mizo language is rich and beautiful in nature, the new generations are careless in its usage. I wish the scribes to lead and mould the new generation to ensure that they use correct and standard Mizo language,” he said.

With nearly 30 daily newspapers published from Aizawl besides district headquarters having their own newspapers, Mizoram has one of the highest numbers of newspapers based in the population, he said.

MJA president Zonunsanga Khiangte said Lal Thanhawla has contributed a lot to the association.

MJA was established on March 23, 1972, with Lal Thanhawla as president and C Chhunbura, editor of Hmar Arsi as the vice president.

The first MJA treasurer was Lalbuaia (Mizo Arsi) while RK Pautu (correspondent, Times of India) was the first secretary-general.

Lal Thanhawla held the president post for three-term from 1972 to 1977. There are now 195 members under MJA.

The grand golden jubilee celebration will be held on March 23 in Aizawl.

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