NUJ- letter to Dr. Katju(Detail Page)

NUJ- letter to Dr. Katju

National Union of Journalist(I)
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Dr. Justice(retd) Markandeya Katju Chairman. Press Council of India New Delhi Your Lordship:# We in the National Union of Journalists (India) welcome your leadership of the Press Council of India. These few months you have taken up this challenging assignment you have been outspoken in the interest of free Press and protection of working journalists who form the core of that Press. Naturally with your erudition and reputation for outspokenness the country expects much from your leadership of the council at a time when the Press is going through a time of crisis in a news environment challenged by new technologies and vast and powerful corporate forces as much as governments unsettled by freedom of expression.# Permit us, Sir, to introduce the National Union of Journalists (India). We are a trade union cum professional body of working journalists formed in 1972 when we saw the clouds of authoritarianism hovering over the national horizon. Three years later the country came under emergency regulations and we opposed censorship totally. In fact we told this to the then Prime Minister on her face when she invited a delegation from us to meet her. Later too, whenever attempts to muzzle the Press were made we were in the forefront of the fight as in the case of the Bihar Press Bill, the Defamation Bill—in all such cases we refused to compromise even a little with the extant government’s arguments to justify shackling the Press. Our union’s association with the Brussels based International Federation of Journalists helps in defending Press freedom across the world and protects the lives of working journalists threatened by governments and other forces. We keep a tab with the IFJ on all such threats and events and mobilize international liberal elements to aid the Press and the working journalists everywhere. In the last two years the NUJ(I) has demanded a law to protect working journalists from attacks by groups of political, economic and social entities who claim they are unfairly treated in our reports. They follow this claim by death threats; in many cases they have attempted to carry these threats to their logical conclusion while the police quietly ignore the threats even after the event.# We also strongly plead the case of working journalists for better living conditions. The NUJ(I) introduced audio-visual presentation of the working journalists case over the last three wage boards. Our presentation of massive data so impressed the chairman of the last wage board, Justice(retd) Majithia that he called for three hearings from us on the case, a unique acceptance of our effective presentation of the case.# In the current environment the Press faces several issues of great importance on many of which you have already expressed your strong defense of freedom and responsibility in public. # Firstly, the oversight of the Press to be effective should be extended to the other arms of the media. The Press Council should be turned into a Media Council. We have been demanding this for quite some years now. We are glad that you have already publicly made this demand. We suggest that you chalk out a programme to effectively press this before the Government.# Second, the rapid growth of cross-media ownership is threatening Press freedom. There are very subtle ways the corporate world is taking over the media—one way is to enter into private agreements by which newspaper owners promise to promote corporate products while the corporate entity promises long term advertisement contracts to the newspaper or the group. This is never made public but it exists in the case of many newspapers. The events that led to the dirty tricks being adopted by the News of the World in UK are well known to you.# Third, is paid news. This is no different from what we have mentioned in the earlier para. But there is a more sinister twist in this. The newspaper virtually surrenders its independence to the highest bidder disregarding the erosion of its credibility. A further extension of this is compelling working journalist employees to canvas either for advertisements or lump sum payments for carrying press releases and press conference reports. In some cases newspapers virtually auction their reporter assignments to people in the moffusil who are no journalists at all. The so called reporter makes lump sum payment or promises to the newspaper and covers this up by charging people from near and far for carrying their items.# We also aware of the challenges to Press freedom from new technologies like online news, user based news inserts, etc. The damage some of these could do was recently illustrated in the morphed pictures of communal victims circulated on the social networks. You may kindly go through the enclosed clipping of the NYT columnist Thomas Friedman which focuses on what the opportunity as well as the danger from such technology changed. The Council should set up special groups to consider the impact of such technologies and suggest what oversight could be brought in for the healthy functioning of these without compromising on freedom of expression. The guidelines for journalists and cross checking of user based news items and photos are necessary.# We may also bring to your attention that several newspapers are nowadays publishing without printing the names of the Chief Editor. This is against the Press law. We had brought up this issue before the Council in the 90s and some action was taken but there was no follow up. We request that the Council force the Government to take action against newspapers that violate the Press law by withholding the name of the editor. We also request you to initiate an enquiry into the proportion of space that could be devoted to advertisements in newspapers in the interests of the readers and quality of newspapers. A largely advertisement sheet cannot claim to be a newspaper and seek benefits from the authorities on one count or another. # In conclusion, the NUJ(I) looks forward to working under your leadership to push forward the frontiers of free Pres through the Press Council .# Yours sincerely# Ras Bihari# Secretary-General# Enclosures# 1. Nuj (I) resolution on media situation adopted at meeting Of national executive at Rishikesh# 2. Thomas Freedman’s article in New York Times.

press News

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    Intermediat 4 views 2011-10-25
  • Cabinet approves Majithia Wage Boards recommendations

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    New Delhi. In a decision that will benefit more than 40,000 newspaper employees, Union Cabinet today approved the recommendations of the Majithia Wage Boards providing for an increase in the salaries and allowances of journalists and non-journalists. The revised wages will be applicable with effect from July 1, 2010 while the other allowances like Transport, House Rent and Hardship shall be effective from the date of notification of

    Intermediat 5 views 2011-10-25
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    Intermediat 6 views 2011-10-27
  • Electronic media should be under Press Council's purview:Katju

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    NEW DELHI: Press Council chairman Markandey Katju has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh suggesting that the electronic media should be brought under its purview and should be given "more teeth". "I have written to the PM that the electronic media should be brought under Press Council and it should be called Media Council and we should be given more

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  • LIST OF NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS (INDIA)

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  • A law to protect journos is must

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    A law to protect journos is must With rapid expansion of media, pressure on mediapersons too is burgeoning day-by-day. Daily astonishing exposes of corruption and wrongdoings of influential people have escalated the frequency of attacks on journalists by politicians, administrative authorities, police and mafia groups. In fact, mediapersons have been on the target of these forces for long and they skip

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  • Notificaiton issued for implementation of Majithia Wage Boards

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    New Delhi, Nov 11.Government today issued the notification for implementation of Majithia Wage Boards‘ recommendations for increase in the salaries and allowances of journalists and non-journalists of newspapers and news agencies. "The Ministry has notified Wage Boards recommendations," a senior Labour ministry official said. The Union Cabinet had on October 25 approved the recommendations which will benefit more than 40,000 employees. The revised wages will be applicable with effect

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