Enact Safety Law for Journalists, demands IJU

Amritsar, Oct.29 (NSS): The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) today called upon the Union government to enact a law for the protection of journalists immediately as the demand has been long pending. The law was critical as the attacks and killings of journalists in the country were menacingly growing. The irony was that in all the cases, the culprits are going scot free, the Press Council revealed.

The IJU two-day Plenary, hosted by the Punjab and Chandigarh Journalists Union,  concluded on Sunday, with over 270 delegates from 16 States asked to impress upon their State governments to support their demand for the safety of journalists law. The IJU noted that the media, which is acknowledged as the fourth estate is only seeking protection and not privileges like the other three organs of the State—Legislature, Executive and Judiciary.

The Plenary also condemned the Union government’s manoeuvres to control the Press Council of India (PCI) and the Central Press Accreditation Committee (CPAC) and impinge on the right to freedom of expression and access to information. The reconstitution of the 13th PCI is mired in controversy, and decisions taken by a truncated Council need to be overturned to restore the institution’s credibility.  The IJU also expressed concern over the growing trend of ‘hire and fire’ and non-implementation of wage awards, notified by the government of India. To carry out their duties and responsibilities of informing, educating people and building public opinion, the journalists need to have a sense of job security, which the Wage Boards provide.

            The Plenary expressed its shock over the untimely and unnatural deaths of 228 working journalists in the last four years in the Telangana State. The Plenary also congratulated the TUWJ initiative and Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) constituting a 3-member Commission, through Media Education Foundation of India (MEFI). The first of its kind Commission in the country is headed by a former Supreme Court judge, B Sudershan Reddy and former member UPSC, K S Chalam and veteran journalist Ch Rajeshwar Rao to go into the entire gamut of profession of journalism and conditions of working journalists in both the Telugu States.

            President D Amar and first woman Secretary General Sabina Inderjit assumed charge and the Plenary elected the office bearers including three Vice Presidents—Balwinder Singh Jammu (Punjab), Ambati Anjaneyulu (Andhra Pradesh), Geetartha Pathak (Assam) and five Secretaries—Balbir Singh Jhandu (Punjab), Y Narendra Reddy (Telangana), V B Rajan (Kerala), Shivendra Narain Singh (Bihar), Sushil Silvano (UP) and Treasurer Prem Nath Bhargava (Delhi) 15 National Executive Committee members, including two nominated women members. The outgoing President S N Sinha and founder member K Sreenivas Reddy addressed the Plenary spelling out IJU’s vision for future course of action. (NSS)

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