People's Democracy

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


No. 07

February 13, 2011

Journalists Form National Platform for Struggles


IN a joint statement issued on February 10, representatives of various organisations of all over the country, representing over 12000 journalists, announced the setting up of a National Platform of Journalist Organisations to work in unison with the apex Confederation of Newspaper and News Agency Employees Organisations, the All India Newspaper Employees Federation and other press bodies. This they said was a united front to fight not only for a proper wage board but also on the questions of ethics and democratisation of the media, gender equity, media reform, and to expose the paid news syndrome and connected deals.


The organisations which met in the office of the Delhi Union of Journalists, with DUJ general secretary S K Pande presiding, resolved to have continuous joint programmes, rallies and dharnas not only to concentrate on just and fair wages but also for more social security, a new information order and a more credible media.


The meeting took stock of the current situation including delays in constituting a wage board. (Earlier, under the banner of the National Alliance of Journalists, they had submitted memoranda to the Labour Ministry, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry and the Press Council of India.) They resolved to start a phased struggle beginning this month end followed up by a direct action programme, to be announced shortly.


Members took strong note of the functioning of the Press Council and the Wage Board. The paid news syndrome and connected pressures, even in national press bodies, was discussed and the demand made for a Media Council and a Media Commission to restore a credible media free from government fetters and from the stranglehold of press barons. Drastic amendments to bring the Working Journalists Act in tune with the present day realities and constitution of a Media Council on the line of the earlier press commissions were also demanded.


A steering committee has been constituted with offices in Hyderabad, Kerala and Delhi. It was announced that the Association of Accredited News Cameramen Association (AANC) will also be fraternal ties with the National Platform.


A General Council meeting of the National Platform is expected to take place in Hyderabad in March end or early April, preceded by a meeting close to Delhi. Meetings in Goa, Kerala, Orissa and UP are being finalised.