May 25, 2014

DUJ Regrets Pakistan Decision

THE Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has regretted the Pakistan government’s refusal to renew the visas of two Indian journalists posted in Islamabad, and has demanded that the Pakistan authorities reconsider the decision to deny visas to Meena Menon, correspondent of The Hindu, and Snehesh Philip, correspondent of the PTI. The DUJ statement, issued by its president Ms Sujata Madhok and general secretary S K Pande from New Delhi on May 16, 2014 sought to stress that very few Indian journalists are posted in Pakistan and that the denial of visas to even this small number means denial of information to the Indian people. Such moves can only foster further misunderstanding instead of bridging the political distance between the two neighbouring countries, the DUJ added. The Delhi Union of Journalists also demanded that the Indian government, in turn, must provide visas and necessary facilities to journalists from Pakistan who wish to report from New Delhi, so as to encourage mutual understanding and cooperation between the peoples and governments of India and Pakistan. The DUJ also regretted the arbitrary move by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to boot out journalists from the office granted to them in the BSNL building in central Delhi by the central government. The facility was made available to journalists representing small, vernacular, out-of-town newspapers. But the BSNL shut down the office without notice, denying journalists access to their own equipment including laptops, cameras and files. This move, on the eve of the announcement of election results and formation of a new government, seemed vindictive as at that critical time newspersons were expected to work round the clock. The DUJ urged upon the authorities to immediately restore the office facilities provided to journalists and ensure that their equipments were returned to them intact. At the time of its 65th anniversary programme, an extended national council meeting and an executive meeting also took place on May 15 where its charter was approved. The meeting expressed full solidarity with the struggles of The Indian Express workers and Hindustan Times workers. The meeting was inaugurated by senior lawyer Colin Gonzalves while CITU president A K Padhmanabhan was the main speaker. It was also addressed by M S Yadav, secretary general of the Confederation of Newspapers and News Agencies Employees Organisations, and by leaders of the All India Newspaper Employees Federation. The meeting approved the national and Delhi level charters of the organisation.   NATIONALCHARTER 2014 THE charter approved by the national council meeting and the executive meeting put forward the following demands. 1) Setting up of an independent media commission to look into the status of the media in the era of globalisation. 2) Setting up of a wide spectrum media council to replace the Press Council of India. 3) End to contract labour as it is an infringement on freedom of the press and negation of the Working Journalists Act. 4) Making non-implementation of the Majithia wage board a cognisable offence 5) Setting up of a commission to enquire into the paid news syndrome. 6) Setting up of an autonomous media corporation for relief to national news agencies, and to the regional and language magazines of literary value. Immediate package to save the national news agencies like UNI where employees have not got their salaries for months, leave alone the Majithia board award. 7) Immediate setting up of a committee to stop unfair labour practices and implementation of the Majithia wage board recommendations by the central and state governments. 8) Setting up of an expert committee to examine the issue of cross media ownership. 9) Setting up of an expert committee to look into the plight of mofussil correspondents. 10) Immediate appointment of inspectors under section 17 (b) of the Working Journalists Act to monitor implementation of the Majithia wage board, focussing on priority basis on the papers which had challenged the award which was upheld by the Supreme Court