NUJ(I) Union Council Meeting in Ranchi?
Enact a Journalist Protection Act — NUJ(I) demands?
By Pramod Kumar?
Expressing concern over the rising number of attacks on mediapersons all over the country, the National Union of Journalists (India) demanded enactment of a Journalist Protection Act to ensure protection to mediapersons so that they can discharge their duty more responsibly and freely.
Condemning the recent attacks on mediapersons in Jodhpur on November 13 by supporters of Rajasthan Congress leader Mahipal Maderna, who is also an accused in Bhanwari Devi case, the Union Council of NUJ (I) that met in Ranchi from November 26 to 27, said three journalists were killed in the country this year alone and there are reports of the involvement of underworld in the killing of Mumbai based Mid Day journalist J Dey. “What is shocking is that not a single arrest has been made in these cases so far,” said a resolution adopted at the meeting. Demanding investigation into any case related to mediapersons by DCP level police officer within two days of the incident, the meeting said the culprits be punished through fast track courts.
Over 300 delegates from different state units attended the meeting. Apart from senior leaders of NUJ (I) including Shri Rajendra Prabhu, Dr Nand Kishore Trikha, Shri MD Gangwar, Shri Asim Kumar Mitra, president Shri Prajnananda Chaudhary, general secretary Shri Ras Bihari and other prominent leaders were also present. The meeting was inaugurated by Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Shri CP Singh. Union Minister of Tourism Shri Subodh Kant Sahay and senior journalist and founder editor of Prabhat Khabar Shri SN Vinod also addressed the delegates.
BJP national president Shri Nitin Gadkari sent his good wishes for the meeting. Dr Bharati Kashyap, on behalf of Dr Bharat Prasad Kashyap Foundation, felicitated 20 journalists of the state with cash prize of Rs 10,000 each. Two senior activists of the NUJ (I), Shri Rajendra Prabhu and Dr NK Trikha, were specially felicitated for effectively presenting the case of working and non-working journalists before the Majithia Wage Board.
Worried over the attacks on mediapersons, the NUJ (I) had staged countrywide dharnas on June 25 this year demanding immediate enactment of a Journalist Protection Act. A memorandum to this effect was also presented to President of India Smt Pratibha Patil. “The mediapersons are threatened with dire consequences whenever they expose the corruption of persons in power, infighting in political parties, nexus between political leaders and mafias, etc. In such life-threatening situations the mediapersons surely need protection,” said the resolution appealing to all state Governments to enact similar laws in their respective states also.
Moving a resolution on Majithia Wage Board recommendations, Shri Rajendra Prabhu appealed to the central government to take stern action against the newspaper establishments which fail to implement the Wage Board recommendations properly. At the same time Shri Prabhu regretted that the Union Labour Ministry ignored the plea made by journalist organisations to amend the recommendations of Majithia Wage Board reducing the remuneration to the mofussil correspondents from existing 50 per cent of the wages applicable to full time working journalists to 40 per cent.
?Having considered the media situation, the unhealthy trends in both the print and electronic media and the new challenges of the online media as well as emerging trends in various sections of society impacted by the media, the meeting also demanded that the Government should take early steps to set up a Media Council to guide the progress of the sector into a robust fourth estate supporting and promoting diversity and freedom in the largest constitutional democracy in the world. The NUJ (I) has been making this demand for quite some years ever since the electronic media emerged as a powerful factor in the mass communication environment.