Monday, June 1, 2020
 
 News Details
Save Journalism and Journalists for Tomorrow, Appeal to The President Of India


Shri. Ram Nath Kovind
Hon’ble President of India
Rashtrapati Bhawan
New Delhi




Dear Sir,
India and indeed the world, stands on the edge of an abyss today. We face an unprecedented crisis, compelling millions among our citizens to make the choice between life and livelihood.
It is a circumstance in which the public function of information gathering and dissemination acquires enormous significance, since misinformation can kill. And as a major segment of our media has shown, a time of crisis also is a trigger for a search for scapegoats, for blaming weak and vulnerable sections of our population for the collective ill, in a manner that fatally cripples the unity of purpose that we need at the time.
At this vital juncture, the ranks of India’s journalists are being decimated by abrupt and arbitrary layoffs by major media houses, always in gross disregard of applicable laws. Those who retain their jobs are paralysed by anxiety and unable to respond to the calling that is the foremost need of the hour.
We are aware in the context, of a representation made by the Indian Newspaper Society (INS), the apex body of the newspaper industry, demanding a number of fresh concessions so that its constituents stay viable through this crisis. We would like to point out in this context, that the INS membership is in default on its primary responsibility of safeguarding job security and ensuring regular wage payments through this crisis. Those are the key aspects of the social contract that we are all enjoined to follow if we are to collectively salvage the world as we know it from this crisis.
Three specific demands have been made by the INS: (1) import duty exemption for newsprint; (2) a two-year exemption from taxation; and (3) an increase of 50 % in the rates paid for government advertisements.
WE have no specific opinion on these demands, but urge that in considering these, the authorities enjoin upon the newspaper industry that they fulfil their side of the social contract, which is to safeguard employment, ensure decent wages, and stepup their investments in news gathering on matters of public importance.
Recent years have seen a crackdown on workers’ unions in the newspaper industry, with employment contracts being designed as a rule to maximise insecurity and ensure compliance with the diktat of managements. Besides that, mass retrenchments have become a regular feature even before the current crisis. In most cases, retrenchments are done in secrecy, in gross violation of existing labour laws, in a manner that exploits the economic and financial vulnerability of workers. Many of those retrenched are forced to resign and sworn to secrecy in the process, on pain of losing the measly two months’ salary they are granted as compensation.
Managements have been pursuing profit at the cost of the integrity of the industry’s basic function of gathering news and presenting it in a credible fashion. The boom and bust cycle of the global economy has therefore impacted an industry that has in its lust for profits, chosen to depend increasingly upon advertisements, rather than seek to expand readership through quality news reporting.
The newspaper and indeed, the entire media industry, has also witnessed the kind of corrosive price competition that devalues the audience and privileges the advertiser. This has led to a “dog eat dog” ethos in the media industry, with several smaller units which contributed richly to the diversity and pluralism of the news agenda, being forced to shut down.
We demand that prior to taking into consideration the INS memorandum, the authorities should enjoin upon its membership a code of conduct that involves respect for working journalists, and a renewal of the role of public trust that the media industry performs.



K.Pande- President NAJ &DUJ ,

N.Kondaiah - Secretary General-NAJ

G.Anjaneyulu-General Secretary –APWJF


National Alliance of Journalists(Regd.)
DELHI UNION OF JOURNALISTS (REGD)
Flat No.29, Central Market, Connaught Place, New Delhi-1
Phone: 23413459, Email: [email protected]








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