IJU National Executive Committee Meeting
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, September 18-19, 2004
National Executive Committee meeting was held in Hyderabad on 18-19, September,
2004. It was presided over by Com. Suresh Akhouri, President, IJU. The venue
of the meeting was " Desoddharaka Bhavan " the office of the Andhra
Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ).
The Secretary-General welcomed the members of NEC and Presidents and General Secretaries of the various State Unions. Com. D. Amar, President of the host Union (APUWJ) thanked the IJU for giving an opportunity to host the NEC in Hyderabad.
The President, in his opening remarks narrated the media situation in the country and demanded that Government of India should immediately set up new wage Board for journalists and non-journalist 0employees of the newspaper industry and Third Media Commission. He expressed concern over the inordinately delay in notifying the IX the Press Council of India and Central Press Accreditation Committee by Government of India.
The President stressed that all unions working the newspaper industry should come together for united action to achieve new wage board for journalists and non-journalists in newspaper industry which is over due.
He informed the meeting that this time also we have succeeded in getting representation to our Union in the IXth Press Council of India. Com. K. Sreenivas Reddy, Secretary-General, Com. Geetarth Pathak (Assam) and Com. Devendra Chintan, (New Delhi) got elected with cooperation of Press Association and Working News Cameramen Association. It is also heartening to note that Com. S.N. Sinha, President of WNCA was also elected to the PCI from WNCA.
The President also informed members that Com. Sabina Indrajit, member of NEC, was elected to the Executive of IFJ for the second consecutive term with thumbing majority in the month of June at Athens, Greece, where the IFJ congress was held.
The Secretary-General in his speech, explained that in spite of unanimous recommendation from Labour Standing Committee of Parliament, headed by P.K. Vasudevan Nair, urgent need of constitution of new wage board for the newspaper employees in the country, the Government of India is dilly-dallying the issue. The Secretary-General read out a memorandum submitted to Union Information and Broadcasting Minister. Mr. S. Jaipal Reddy at New Delhi by IJU delegation.
On 18th after noon members of the NEC interacted with the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy at the State Secretariat. He supported the demand of IJU for setting up a new wage board.
Before adjourning the morning session, the NEC adopted two resolutions one on constitution of media commission and another on notification for reconstitution of IXth Press Council of India.
The resolution adopted on Media Commission:
The National Executive of IJU meeting at Hyderabad on September 18th & 19th, 2004 notes that media scenario in the country has undergone enormous changes since the first and second Press commissions. After the second press commission submitted its report in 1982, information technology changed the face of the media in the world. In the last two decades since second press commission submitted its report, electronic and Internet media came on the scene in our country changing the way the news is disseminated and brought many problems in their wake.
Further, there is a strong feeling in the democratic polity that the newspapers are drifting away from their social responsibility. They are being more and commercialized. The commercial interests are taking precedence over the editorial content in the newspapers. The interference of business managers in the domain of news desk is on the increase. With the contract system of employment for journalists, the threat to freedom of press is becoming more pronounced. The tribe of news managers is sprouting up on the media scene.
The recommendations of the first and second press commissions over de-linking of ownership of newspapers from the big business and on the issue of cross media ownership were not implemented. The big newspapers with deep pockets are squeezing out the medium and small newspapers from the market by price wars.
In these circumstances, the Indian Journalists Union strongly feels that a new media commission should be appointed to go into whole gamut of issues concerning the media, electronic, Internet and print. It should also go into the editorial freedom from the prying managements and the freedom of the press in general.
The National Executive of the IJU strongly urges upon the Government of India to immediately constitute third Media Commission to define the contours of free press and the mode of the newspaper ownership.
resolution on IXth Press Council of India
The National Executive of Indian Journalists Union meeting at Hyderabad on September 18th & 19th, 2004 expresses its deep concern at the inordinate delay in issuing the notification reconstituting the IX Press Council of India. The term of the out going VIII council ended in May 2004 and the process of selection of the members was completed in the 2nd week of July last. The Press Council Of India sent the list of the members to the Government of India. The Government of India is yet to notify reconstitution of the new Press Council of India even though, more than two months elapsed since the whole process was over and more than four months since the term of the last council came to an end. The Government is unnecessarily delaying the issuing of the notification. The PCI is the only statutory body for safeguarding the independence of the press and upholding the professional ethics and oversees the media issues. The inordinate delay in reconstituting the PCI is not fair on the part of the government. The NEC of IJU urges upon the Central Government to immediately notify the next Press Council of India without any further delay.
In the evening session leaders of various State Unions gave reports on their activities. Geetartha Pthak (Assam) informed the members about the killing spree of extremists in Assam. So far 16 journalists have been killed and in North Eastern States. He reviewed the situation of working journalists of newspaper employees in the state. He said the situation was in a very bad shape as the managements were not giving letters of appointments or paying due wages. Governments were not taking any action against the erring managements.
Ambati Anjaneyulu, General Secretary, APUWJ narrated how the APUWJ fought for payment of wages to the employees of Andhra Prabha one of the oldest, reputed dailies in the state after changing the management. He said that at the behest of APUWJ, Group Mediclaim Insurance Policy was launched on August 15, 2004 by the Chief Minister for Working Journalists in the State. Under the scheme medical expenses upto one lakh rupees would be met by Insurance Company for four members of family of journalist including the journalist. About 2,500 journalists were covered under this scheme.
Arun Kumar (Bihar) said in Bihar major newspapers were giving appointments under contract system instead regular appointments. One journalist was killed and another serious inujred in separate attacks by mafia.
Com. Dinesh Chandra (Delhi) stressed the urgent need of programme of action for the appointment of new wage board while cautioning against joint actions with NUJ.
Com. Ravindra Doss (Tamilnadu) told the meeting that the State Government headed by Jayalalitha was most unhelpful towards the journalists. He said she stopped payment pension to journalists in the state, which was introduced by her predecessor. The Tamilnadu Union of Journalists is to floating trust to pay pension to the journalists in distress. He explained the details of welfare activities undertaken by the state Union.
Com. Prasant Patnaik (Orissa) said the Government of Orissa while appointing member for the Accreditation Committee showed discrimination against OUWJ.
Com. Sunil Das (West Bengal) explained the plight of journalists working in the Basumati daily, which ceased publication and other newspapers.
Com. Mazhar Azad (U.P.) explained the situation in Uttar Pradesh visa- vis journalists.
Com. Vinod Kohili (Chandigarah) suggested that our State Unions should exchange delegations of the unions members to understand the situation and cultural heritages.
On 19th morning session discussions took place on action programme for constitution of new wage board and adoption of a resolution. Com. President informed the member, that
there is meeting of union's representative at New Delhi on 30the Sept and in this connection he had a talk with K. L. Kapur of AINEF, com. M. S. Yadav of PTI Federation and com. S.N. Sinha.
on Wage Board:
The National Executive of the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) meeting at Hyderabad on 18th and 19th 2004 strongly demands that Government of India should immediately set up new wage Board for journalists and non-journalist employees of the newspaper industry. The last wage board, headed by Justice Manisana Singh was constituted in September, 1994 after the journalists under the leadership of Indian Journalists launched a massive agitation. As a matter of fact, the then Government which was not heeding the long pending demands of the journalists for wage board was forced to announce the setting up of the wage board, after the journalists boycotted the budget speech of the then Finance Minister and the present Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and the newspaper struck work on that day forcing the populace of the National Capital Delhi go without their daily newspaper with budget news the next day.
Rattled over the strike action of the journalists and non-journalist employees of the newspaper industry, the then Prime Minister Mr. P.V.Narasimha Rao was forced to announce the setting up of the new wage board. Then, the Government took its own time to appoint Chairman and members of the Wage board. After taking over four years, the wage board submitted its report. They were implemented with effect from January, 1998. The recommendations of the wage board were far below the expectations of the journalists. Even those recommendations were not implemented by most of the newspapers in the country.
It is already about six years since the Manisana Wage Board recommendations came into force. In the meantime the real wages of the journalists were getting fast eroded. There is a lot of discontentment among the journalists on this score. It is high time new wage board is constituted without any further loss of time. In recent past the Union Labour Minister Mr. Sis Ram Ola made public statements that they would consider the demand of the journalists and other newspaper employees for new wage board. The Standing Committee of Parliament on Labour also strongly recommended formation of a new Wage Board for the journalists and newspaper employees.
The National Executive of the Indian Journalists urges upon the Government of India to immediately announce the setting up of the wage board for journalists and other newspaper employees before they come on to the streets give vent to their anger frustration.
The NEC of IJU calls upon all the national level organizations of the journalists and other newspaper employees come on a common platform for united actions to achieve new wage board. A confederation of all the journalists and newspaper employees should be formed for the purpose. The NEC authorizes the President and Secretary General to take steps to bring unity among the national unions of newspaper and news agency employees and to hold dialogue with them to wage a united struggle to achieve better living and working conditions to the employees of the newspaper industry.
Project on Women
Later Com. Secretary-General explained the India project on Women Journalists. Com. Sabina submitted a note explaining sailant features by the project.
It is a project called " Europe and India: Building Paths to Equality
in journalism ".
1. Project objective: is of increasing dialogue between key journalists groups in Europe and India and establishing viable and lasting networks among journalists in India through its series of initiatives to improve the quality of journalism and raise the status of women in journalism in India.
2. The IFJ is the applicant, will oversee the project and be responsible for it. The Partners are: India: IJU lead partner. (It will provide the facilities, structure and local expertise for implementation of the project. The national structure will also enable the project to work throughout India and not be restricted to main cities.
3. Europe: Deutscher Jornalism Verband- DJV (Germany) & National Union of Journalists, NUJ (UK & Ireland). They will provide expertise from their gender equality programmes and host the exchange visits and organize one-day seminars for visiting Indian journalists.
4. The project is funded by the European Union, however 20 per cent of the contribution is to come from applicant (which includes the partners).
The EU will provide 497986 Euro, the 20 % is applicant's contribution: 124498 Euro.
5. It is a two-year project and will be completed by June 2006.
6. The target group: are membership of journalists' unions in India and women working in journalism throughout India in all sectors. It is expected that more than 1000 journalists and union leaders will directly benefit from participation in activities of the project with published material and information services reaching the membership of Indian journalists unions. The target group is not women alone, but includes representatives of union leaderships and wider membership of the journalists unions with the aim of creating a broadly- based body of support of the project objectives
The activities to be undertaken in the project shall be the following in various stages:
7. Survey on Women in Journalism in India. It will deal with: 1. Situation of Indian women journalists: (a) covering training, access to the profession, discrimination, pay, sexual harassment, access to responsible positions, membership to the Unions, employment etc (b) Best practice examples on equality provisions achieved in collective bargaining by IFJ affiliates in Europe and India and how these might be applied effectively in both regions. 2. Launch of survey in all regions of India and directed in all sectors of information and communication: radio, television, print, news agencies, on-line information services and freelance agencies. The questionnaire will be translated into 7 languages and distributed throughout India. A survey report (300 copies) has to be prepared. All this will be organized by the IJU. Also posters and leaflets have to be prepared and distributed all over.
8. Analysis and assessment of survey results and definition of practical follow-up to be defined through a National Conference to assess results, 40 participants. To be organized by the IJU.
9. EU-India Media Women's Network: establishment of an Indian and European women journalists network to share, compare and learn from each others experience and look at the European policies on issues on women and journalism. Women journalists delegations selected by IFJ affiliates in India will visit IFJ affiliates in Europe and other journalists institutions and media organizations. There will be 4 seven-day missions (two every year) of 10 women journalists to Europe. Each visit will involve: 2-day visit to NUJ, London, 2 day visit to DVJ, Bonn ort Berlin, 1-day visit to IFJ Secretariat, Brussels, 1-day visit to EJC, Maastricht and 1-day visit to European Commission, Brussels. To be organized by the EU-IJU.
10. Two regional meetings will be held on training and union organizing in India with representatives from media, civil society, NGOs and policy makers, organized by the IJU.
A campaign will be organized following the survey results. There will be gender equity workshops to train women journalists and local union leadership on developing policies and actions that promote equality. To be undertaken by the IJU
A newsletter (in all four) and a website will be organized jointly by the EU- IJU.
A handbook will finally be developed from results of survey and meetings held in the first year.
After the discussion at length on implementation of project the N. E.C. Resolved:
Com. Sabina Indrajit (New Delhi) appointed as India Project Coordinator and the project office should be located at Hyderabad in APUWJ office and authorized Secretary-General to appoint project Asst. and accountant for the project office in Andhra Pradesh.
The NEC also constituted a five member committee with Comrades, Suresh Akhouri, K. Sreeenivas Reddy, S.N. Sinha, Madan Singh and Geetarth Pathak, President, Secretary-General, Treasurer, Secretaries of IJU respectively to oversee the implementation and consultation.
Earlier Secretary-General also explained in detail the discussions held by IJU leadership with Aiden White, General Secretary, IFJ on his Delhi visit in August, 2004. The NEC endorsed the activites initiated and taken by the President and Secretary-General on the project and authorized them to go ahead with the project implementation.
On the night of 19th September, the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists hosted a dinner in honor of the National Council Members and Special invitees at the Press Club of Hyderabad. Several senior journalists and local leaders of the APUWJ also attended the dinner and had a fruitful interaction with the visiting journalists.
The President and Secretary-General thanked the leaders of the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists for hosting the conference and making excellent arrangements for the hospitality of the members of the National Executive.
The General Secretary of the APUWJ, Ambati Anjaneyulu proposed a vote of thanks.
October 03, 2004