People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 02

January 14, 2007

Delhi’s First Amphitheatre For Scribes Takes Off


ON December 2, the Delhi Media Centre for Research & Development, the first of its kind by and for journalists, and a rooftop amphitheatre adorned with ‘leaves from the history of journalism’, were inaugurated in the capital.


Eminent journalists, writers, poets, office bearers of various newspaper and news agency unions and press workers attended the function held on the premises of the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ). Both the ventures, launched in collaboration with the Printers Service Corporation (PSC), will enable the DUJ to play its rightful role in the new media scenario.

Inaugurating the Research Centre, the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) president MK Pandhe praised the DUJ’s initiative and assured full support of the CITU for making it a success. Pandhe also underlined the need for the DUJ to expand its activities at the all-India level.


Delivering the keynote address, senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta bemoaned the steep decline in the standards of journalism in the country. In view of the all-round deterioration, he said organisations like the DUJ ought to impart to young journalists the basic values of journalism, adding that the Delhi Media Centre for Research & Development would come in handy in this regard.


A highlight of the inauguration of the centre, which was followed by a high-quality debate on problems facing the media, was a special message from the Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee. “A constructive and socially responsible media serves as the harbinger of new ideas and changes and helps build public opinion and safeguard the rights and liberties of the citizens. By virtue of its varied roles, the media has become an indispensable means for the success of a vibrant democracy. I extend my greetings to all members of the union and convey my best wishes for all their future endeavour,” the message said. 


Noted theatre personality Jalabala Vaidya recited some lines from Shakespeare on the occasion evoking the images of an era redolent with the memories of stalwarts.


Through a message that was read out on the occasion, Anasuya Vaidya recalled her freedom fighter father C P Ramachandran who was the DUJ president after Emergency. The message said, “There was nothing my father loved more than a lively and stimulating discussion. He would have been really happy with this wonderful forum. It is wonderful to know that even after all these years CP still has your love and affection. I look forward to many lively and stimulating discussions and debates here in the future.” 


Veteran journalist A N Bal recalled his association with the DUJ when journalists used to come on bicycles to discuss the problems. It was decided at a marathon meetings, he said, that the DUJ would be both a professional as well as a trade union body.


Welcoming the distinguished speakers and participants, DUJ president S K Pande elaborated on the concept of Delhi’s first media centre by and for journalists and presspersons. The amphitheatre, he said, would host discussions on media related issues and spotlight issues of contemporary interest and controversy. The DUJ discussion forum “Baatcheet,” envisaged by well-known journalist late Appan Menon, would be reactivated, he added. Besides, the forum called Journalists for Scientific Temper and also the Film Club, started initially by martyr Safdar Hashmi, would again take off.


Professor Ram Sharan Joshi touched upon the impact of the language media in fighting the ills afflicting the newspaper industry. In a speech blending his professorial wisdom and journalistic experience, Professor Joshi said organisations like the DUJ have a key role to play in ensuring that the standards of journalism are kept high.


Media academician and writer Professor Subhash Dhulia emphasised the paramount need for research in the post-globalisation period to battle the misinformation campaign. He also suggested that the DUJ bring out an annual report on the status of the media in the country. 


Hindustan Times Employees Union president Anand Prakash said the most essential prerequisite for a vibrant media research and development centre is the strengthening of the Delhi Union of Journalists, the largest representative organisation of the journalists in Delhi, which has been the pivot around which various movements, like the campaign against the Bihar Press Bill, revolved.


Among the others who spoke on the momentous occasion were CITU leader Mohanlal who said the torch of struggles must burn bright, and Delhi CPI leader Mahesh Rathi, Printing Service Corporation (PSC) president Shamim Farouqui, AINEF tresurer M L Talwar and IJU secretary Madan Singh. (INN)