Resolution: Media situation(Detail Page)

Resolution: Media situation

National Union of Journalist(I)
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This meeting of the national executive of the National Union of Journalists(India) held in Rishikesh on May 19-20, 2012 taking into consideration the totality of the Media situation in the country, finds a spreading pervasiveness of different mass communication media that also has its opportunities and risks involved as media is seen as increasingly influencing public opinion and policy formulation in the country. These contending opportunities and risks themselves have raised public concerns one of the outcomes of which is the demand for media regulation. The number of newspapers and spread of print media circulations are rising even as another set of 500 0r so channel proposals are awaiting government approval over and above 600 already airing their programmes. Both print media and the TV channels are extending their linkages with readers and viewers through the ON Line media which is largely free. The over 130 million or so TV cable homes will gain wider access to more TV channels and in turn satellite TV will penetrate more homes as the digitalization of cable would become phase by phase from June this year. This would replace the existing TRP system of viewer preferences thereby bringing more reliable data into content evaluation into TV viewing. We are aware that the capability to load customer videos and viewpoints into Media programmes is all set to give considerable power to influence content to the common man. The Indian media environment could also be expected to undergo dramatic and basic changes as transparency becomes an important commitment in government-people relations as the opportunities presented by RTI sinks into public consciousness and broadband access becomes more and more universal and affordable in the coming three to five years. New technologies like mobile TV and LTE expand the access to knowledge base for people who now can have Internet enabled mobile handsets. The country is on the cusp of a Media revolution that can deeply influence public opinion and government policies and even those who could expect to be elected for various offices. As an organization of working journalists dedicated to highest standards of journalism within a Constitutionally guaranteed framework of freedom of expression, the National Union of Journalists(India) cannot but be leading the public discourse on how this situation should or should not be handled. We consider such discourse and guidance essential for enabling working journalists themselves to play their critical role in the emerging media scenario and ensure their own welfare. The NUJ(I) welcomes the potential opportunities that such a media environment provides even to the last citizen. We believe that public policies should enable fullest utilization of such opportunities to the last man and help widen his vision. As working journalists we also should be aware of its risks. For sometime to come at least the threat that electronic access to information has posed to print media in developed countries, may not be that serious in this country. But we recognize that change has no borders. As broadband spreads under the national broadband policy increasingly people will turn to online sources for the news of the day and a proportionate decrease in the need for newspapers as it has happened in the developed countries. The NUJ(I) calls upon its units in all states to acclimatize their members to the challenge of this emerging change. The NUJ(I)’s school of journalism and masscommunication should be used to strategise for this change. There is also opportunity in this change for healthy journalism as the online newspaper can now be read by makin micropayments. To the extent this technology becomes universal newspapers could dictate terms to advertisers rather than the other way round. At the same time the risks of such change also are rising. The NUJ(I) finds that the rising tendency of print media companies to also become TV channel owners and have an extention into online newspaper would promote monopoly in ownership. Media owners who consciously promoted no holds barred investigative and prurient stories to build large circulations abroad have run into pits of their own making as the dirty picture of the 50 billion dollar Murdoch empire in UK and US has now revealed. The NUJ(I) believes that to keep the Media vibrant, truthful and credible curbs on Media ownership are justified. The enduring lesson from what happened to News of the World and The Sun, every journalists organization should caution the Government and ask for transparent regulation of media ownership. Working journalists through organizing themselves alone could resist management and advertisers pressures to indulge in unethical journalism in the unrelenting search for more and more profits. The NUJ(I) reiterates that robust journalism needs committed newspapermen both as working journalists and newspaper owners. We proudly recall as we complete 40 years of our organization that within five years of our formation we committed ourselves to ethical journalism through what has come to be known as our Agra Declaration. Our next historic contribution should be to adapt the declaration to work in the emerging multi-media scenario. Now that there is increasing interaction of journalism and entertainment through the visual electronic media, and far reaching changes are on the horizon in the technology and content of media world as recalled in this document, to sustain the commitment of journalism to ethical principles and public good in sharp contrast to commercial profit as the final arbiter, we reiterate the recent demand we have been making for the Press Council to be restructured as the Media Council to guide the Media and a new Media Commission to guide policy making in keeping the vast powers of mass communication through different competing and complementing mass communication technologies tethered to public good. The NUJ(I) calls upon its national leadership and state units to utilize the next six months of this year to help the country define the contours of the robust and ethical media with working journalists enabled to play their critical role in informing, educating and elevating the people into a live, pulsating, innovative and knowledge driven lead nation of the global community.

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