‘A CALL FOR CHANGE’ और ‘Save The Press Club!’

‘A CALL FOR CHANGE’ और ‘Save The Press Club!’ नाम से जारी दो अलग-अलग अपीलों में नदीम खेमे ने प्रेस क्लब को लेकर अपनी प्राथमिकताओं व विचारों से सभी सदस्यों को अवगत कराया है। इन अपीलों में ढेर सारे तथ्य दिए गए हैं। कई सारी बातें कहीं गई हैं। जीतने पर नदीम पैनल क्या-क्या करेगा, इसे भी बताया गया है। प्रेस क्लब की वर्तमान दशा क्या है और इस दशा तक पहुंचने में कौन-कौन से कारण जिम्मेदार रहे हैं, यह सब इन अपीलों में उल्लखित है। इन दोनों अपीलों को यहां इसलिए प्रकाशित किया जा रहा है ताकि मीडियाकर्मी देश के सबसे बड़े प्रेस क्लब के अंदर की राजनीति से वाकिफ हो सकें।


Save The Press Club!

Dear members,

In less than a week from now, on October 24, many among you will be present at the premises of the Press Club, with the express intent of voting. Like always, there will be many  panels and individuals exercising their democratic right to contest elections. A few of us have also constituted a complete panel – one that calls for change at every level. Our panel has gone beyond the mere intent of contesting elections. As soon as the elections were announced, our panelists raised issues pertinent to the election process itself and wrote repeatedly to the chief election officer to address the omissions and commissions in the electoral process. The processes that precede the elections are equally important as the elections themselves.

We raised these issues keeping the interests of this 50 year old institution in mind and to revive most of the time honored traditions of the PCI. Not only this, our panel raised issues of accountability, integrity and transparency from the outgoing team especially the one led by the former secretary general and his cohorts. For doing this, several members on our panel have had to face police cases and have been dragged to court. Such has been the democratic functioning of a certain section of the outgoing committee! Nevertheless, we know that in our fight to save the PCI, we have the support of every rational and fair-minded individual member of the PCI. It is only this confidence that encourages some among us to repeatedly attend hearings at the courts, face police harassment as well.  Never before in the history of the PCI, have we had policepersons striding in confidently, egged on by the calculated witch-hunt launched by the outgoing secretary general. Every self-respecting member of the PCI should strongly oppose this. The first thing we promise and assure all of you is that if elected, we will never get the police on our premises to persecute our own members. We intend to carry out a few things with your support. We assure you that irrespective of the outcome of the elections, we will continue to press for these issues in every democratic forum.

  1. Our top priority is to publish a directory of members containing genuine and complete information of members such as name, address, contact number and e-mail ID so that nobody can tamper with it.  The directory will be available throughout the year and will be updated periodically or reprinted when stocks get sold out. This will ensure a level playing field for everyone at the time of elections and not necessarily benefit the outgoing team. There will be a single directory/voter list for everyone.

  2. We will put in place a permanent official website for the Press Club of India that will not vanish at the whims and fancies of individuals as it has happened now.  The official website has to be the property of the PCI and has to be managed by whoever is at the helm of affairs at the Press Club of India with prudence and propriety. And, the content should reflect the interest of the Press Club of India and not that of individuals or specific interest groups. Nobody, particularly an outgoing managing committee or a committee held in suspended animation, would be allowed to tamper with its content.  Such ad hoc action is suspect and must be dealt with as a criminal breach of trust.

  3. We will make a list of legal formalities that must be complied with by the PCI in the conduct of its business and initiate measures to see that these are adhered to so that lapses cannot be explained away.  This will help us to fix responsibility for lapses and take the offending committee to task. We will also draft a standing policy for legal formalities so that no future committee can shirk responsibility on this count.  The policy statement will be uploaded on to the official website of the PCI to ensure transparency.

  4. We will pass a resolution to the effect that the tenure of an elected committee cannot be extended beyond one year and that no committee can alter this under any circumstances as is being attempted.  It is an inalienable right of the members to make an annual review of the performance of the managing committee it elects each time.  This empowers the members to reject non-performing committees or committees which do not act in the best interests of the Club. It is an important safeguard against subversion of the democratic processes and practices enshrined in the PCI and cannot be allowed at any cost.

  5. Many members feel that the Articles of Association need to be updated in consonance with the Companies Law. While the existing one embodies the basic principles of Company Law, we can suggest amending it in that very framework in order to strengthen the hands of the PCI as a collective body. At all times, members will be taken into complete confidence as and when a proposal to make amendments is mooted.

  6. We have also noticed that there are no standard election rules that are followed. There is an arbitrary interpretation of the process. In the interests of greater transparency, we will frame a set of rules and byelaws, pass it in the managing committee and put it to the AGM for final approval.

  7. We will streamline accounting procedures and introduce a dependable system or update the existing system to ensure that payments are made in accordance with established norms, fair play and legal requirements.  Sufficient checks and balances will be introduced into the system to make payments and record of transactions as fool-proof as possible.  The procedures will also be uploaded on to our website so that nobody can mess around with it.  Besides, it will ensure transparency in transactions and prevent questionable transactions and payment modes.

  8. Issue of post-dated checks is against accounting norms as they cannot be recorded when they are issued.  Recording such transactions would have to wait until the date of the check.  This keeps everyone in the dark about the financial status of the Club.  It also rings an alarm bell because when we issue a post-dated check, it means that we do not have funds to meet our current expenses. It also means that we are drawing on our future revenues.  This not only reflects badly on the fund management but also endangers the very survival of the Club as this is the first sign of drift towards bankruptcy.  Such action cannot be allowed without taking the members into confidence.  The managing committee needs to explain to the members as to how it got the Club into such a financial mess.

  9. Over the years, the Club has become a pub and a bad one at that.  Often, brands of drinks patronized by the members are not available at the bar and there is dearth of snacks at the bar in terms of variety. The members have a right to know why this is so specially when these brands of drinks are readily available in the market.

  10. Maintenance is another area that is crying for attention in the Club.  Look at the bar stools and the chairs. Many of them need to be replaced or repaired.  Look at the air conditioners and fans.  Most members sweated it out during the summer months but strangely nobody complained.  Until recently, the club was dimly lit making the members and their guest feel that they were entering some shady joint when they come to the Club.

  11. We also need to take a look at the food in terms of quality of food served and the variety of food available to the guests.  The items brought at par with other better run press clubs of India. The kitchen area is filthy and the preparations are not exactly hygienic.  If you do not trust us, just take a casual walk into the kitchen area. This will be a priority for us as it has a direct bearing on health.

  12. Unfortunately, the waiters are not well managed resulting in poor service to the members and their guest.  We will work on better delegation of responsibilities to them to bring about a discernible improvement in their services.

  13. Last but not the least, all organizations are run by paid employees.  The role of the Board of Directors is to guide them and monitor their performance.  If the Board of Directors start performing daily chores of the organization who will guide them and monitor their performance.  The equivalent of the Board of Directors in the Press Club is the Managing Committee.  As a rule, the office bearers of the Club must be journalists who put in some time to regulate the activities of the club.  When the officer bearers start putting in their entire day and start running the daily show, who can monitor their activities? This is a dangerous precedent which has resulted in the mess we find our Club in.  This should be discontinued with immediate effect.

  14. Lastly, as a body representing working journalists and citizens of this country, we have a broader responsibility to our community as well as society at large. If elected, we will make a conscious effort to raise issues that have an impact on our lives and society at large. We do not believe that we can shut our eyes to all that is happening around us, that is outside the PCI as well. In order that we are taken seriously in a meaningful sense, it is imperative that we evolve as a body representing the intelligentsia.  

As many of you are aware, we blew the whistle and tried to stand up against ad hocism that has taken over the club.  We raised a stink and want to clear up the mess.  But, the key is in your hands.  If you stand by us and support us we promise to turn around this club and make it one of the prestigious and premiere press clubs of the country that it deserves to be.

YOU decide whether you want to join our fight and stand up against mismanagement of the Club which compromises the prestige and self respect of journalists or contribute to the rot by remaining a silent spectator to whatever is happening here.

YOU can SAVE the PRESS CLUB.  You can be a catalyst for change.  You have the most potent instrument for change—your vote.  Use it.  VOTE FOR US.


A CALL FOR CHANGE

Reject the cabals who use the club as a permanent source of income    

Reject the politics of vendetta and vindictiveness

Dear members,

As you are aware, the election process has already begun even without several basic procedures being complied with; procedures like displaying the voters list on the day the elections were notified; preparation and circulation of a statutory audit report to the members, notification of an AGM along with the notification for elections etc.

We would like to inform you all that the chief election officer who is not new to the PCI election process, by virtue of being an associate member himself, has received two representations, on separate dates, by over 40 members of the PCI, requesting him to correct the above anomalies and acts of omission. Till date, the voters list has not been put on the notice board. How are 2600 ordinary members of the PCI to know whether they are on the voters list or not? It is a fundamental right of every member to know whether he or she is on the voter list or not. It has to be physically displayed on the notice board as soon as a decision to hold elections is taken. Today, a member can have access to this list only by purchasing a copy at Rs 300/ -!

Meanwhile, and more importantly, the outgoing secretary general, in order to frustrate those who are contesting the elections, is pressurising the police to file FIRs on the basis of false complaints already filed with the police. Such is his fear of losing the post of secretary general, that he has approached the lower courts to get the police to file FIRs. What is he so afraid of?

And what are these complaints about? These complaints have been made specifically against those members who had the courage and the initiative to call for an EGBM on August 22. Their only “crime” was that they dared to protest against the dishonest and undemocratic ways of the outgoing secretary general. The complaints allege that the PCI office was broken into forcibly and that a “senior” member was allegedly assaulted at the EGBM. The detailed transcript of the EGBM prepared on the basis of a video recording of the entire proceedings nail the lie. The CD and the transcript are ample evidence that the EGBM was conducted very peacefully with absolute decorum. If there was any attempt to disrupt the EGBM, it was done by the cohorts of the outgoing secretary general. Even this was handled with utmost decency and civility.

It is condemnable that at the instigation of the outgoing secretary general, the “senior” member in question and another journalist repeatedly heckled and attempted to interrupt the speakers in the presence of many women journalists who were also present at the meeting. It is curious that the complainant has produced no evidence of disruptive behaviour at the EGBM. We would like to remind the outgoing secretary general that using the Goebblesian (Josef Goebbels was the Information Minister of Adolf Hitler) logic of merely repeating a lie a hundred times, doesn’t convert it into a truth.

As for the other allegation of breaking into the PCI office, it is open knowledge that it was opened in the presence of the outgoing secretary general who along with the outgoing president gave a fairly long speech in the EGBM (the transcript is available), which now they interestingly call “illegal” and accepted the decision of the general body to constitute an interim committee to run the club. It defies logic that why should members in an EGBM, whose decision the outgoing secretary general and the president have agreed upon most amiably, then proceed to break open the locks of the office. Such allegations deserve to be dismissed with the contempt they deserve.

We ask you, dear members. Does the PCI need such people who lie and project half truths at every opportunity? Does the PCI need to be burdened with extra costs, court fees, lawyers fees etc only to satisfy the political and egotistical aspirations of one individual? The outgoing secretary general seems to be using the hard earned monies of the PCI to satisfy his own vindictive campaign and to finance his politics of vendetta. We want to know who is going to pay the lawyers that he has hired to persecute members who called for an EGBM.

We also use this opportunity to challenge him to prove the allegations he has been systematically spreading that the interim committee spent over 1.25 lakhs on the lawyers it hired to fight his persecution and also that the committee spent over Rs. 20,000 on the house to treat itself during its stay in office. If not, the members are free to draw their own inference about the motive behind such canards.

Finally, we call upon every member to see through these canards, outright lies and machinations and to reject this third rate politics of vendetta launched by the outgoing secretary general and his cabals. Never before in the history of the PCI has such base level tactics been resorted to. We urge you all to support the panel that symbolises the ethical values that journalists represent, and thus rid the club of those who want to perpetuate themselves in office so that they can use it as a permanent source of income.

PLEASE VOTE AND SUPPORT THIS PANEL THAT STANDS FOR TRANSPARENCY AND CONSTRUCTIVE CHANGE

PLEASE CAST A PANEL VOTE

FOR OFFICE BEARER POSTS– PCI ELECTIONS 2009-10

ARUN KESARI – PRESIDENT (UNI)

SAVITA SRIVASTAVA – VICE-PRESIDENT (Freelance)

VIJAY SALUJA – VICE-PRESIDENT  (Pana India)

NADEEM A. KAZMI –  SECRETARY GENERAL (NDTV)

AVTAR NEGI –  TREASURER (DD News)

FOR THE 16 MEMBER EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

  1. ASHISH SINHA (Mail Today)

  2. AVTAR NEGI (Doordarshan)

  3. CHITRITA SANYAL (Zee Bangla)

  4. DINESH TIWARI (Hindustan)

  5. HITENDRA KUMAR (Sahara Samay)

  6. JOGINDER SOLANKI (Deshbandhu)

  7. K N JOSHI ( Uttar Ujala)

  8. MANNAN KUMAR (The New Indian Express)

  9. NIRNIMESH KUMAR (The Hindu)

  10. PRADEEP BAGCHI (News X)

  11. PRADEEP THAKUR (Times of India)

  12. SAVITA SRIVASTAVA (Freelance)

  13. SUSHIL KUMAR – (Hindustan)

  14. VINCENT VAN ROSS (Freelance)

  15. VIJAY K. CHATURVEDI (Rashtra Times)

  16. SURESH NAUTIYAL (Freelance)

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