Justice for Journalists

On the eve of Independence  Day, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ), has called for setting a new autonomous National Media Commission in place of the Press Council of India, which has proved to be a largely ineffectual and toothless body.

In a special meeting of the DUJ executive committee, it was resolved to urge upon the Central government to create a broad-based Media Commission that would act as the Regulator of the entire gamut of issues related to newspapers, television news channels as well as online news websites.

The Commission should be empowered to deal with the growing number of challenges and problems being faced by the wide spectrum of media and all its ramifications, including ensuring Press freedom, threats to integrity and credibility of news publications and fair wages to employees.

In a statement, DUJ president S K Pande said that under the Constitution the Press is considered the fourth pillar of Democracy and it is vital to preserve the values and independence of free media against various forms of political and commercial pressures.

He also urged that the government should take immediate steps for the constitution of a new wage board for journalists, covering the news industry, including electronic and online media. The DUJ demanded sterner steps to ensure that the Majithia Wage Board is implemented without further delay.

The DUJ also announced plans to intensify awareness campaigns aimed al unifying the press fraternity and initiating collective action to protect and preserve freedoms and values.

Journalists and press workers were asked to participate in a March to Parliament that is proposed to be held during the winter session to highlight the common charter of demands, including relief and rehabilitation of victims of attacks on media persons and unfair labour practices within the newspaper industry.

The meeting took special note of the alarming trend of retrenchments in major newspapers and news organisations and also the deplorable plight of freelance journalists many of whom write for a pittance, while others do not get payment for months at a stretch.

To create larger public awareness and to generate support from elected representatives of all political parties, it was announced that a series of open letters would be sent to Members of Parliament as well as State Legislatures during the next few weeks and to strive to build the widest possible consensus among a cross-section of society on issues directly related to press freedom and justice for workers in the news industry.


Vol. 50, No.11, Sep 17 - 23, 2017