Membership should be opened for all

Lucknow : Former UP Press Club president Mr Ram Dutt Tripathi introduced the agenda of the journalists meeting held at the UP Press Club (UPPC) on April 10, 2010 and said that journalists should come together to discuss and work jointly to address the general problems facing journalists, including health, housing and other such welfare issues. He said that strengthening the Journalists’ was also an important point of the day’s agenda. Mr Tripathi also pointed out that people of other professions, like engineers and doctors have their associations, through which they are able to raise their issues collectively for early remedy of their problems. He said that UPPC membership should be opened for all journalists immediately.

Mr Tripathi  also said elections of LWJU had not been held for several years, and that they should be done within 15 days. He said ‘May Day’ (Labour Day) is an important occasion, and thus the LWJU election should be accomplished before that after the membership drive. Former UPPC secretary Mr Shiv Shankar Goswami also said that there was a definite need for collective action to better the lot of journalists. He spoke about how the insurance/pension scheme started by the Journalists Welfare Society (JWS) had benefited a large number of journalists.

Mr Goswami suggested that a drive should be started immediately for UPPC membership. He said a person should be a “working journalist” to get membership. He also said that timely elections are a must for every union. Mr Goswami said it was “shameful” that a veteran journalist like Tahir Abbas had been denied UPPC membership for the past several years. The statement was met with a loud cry of “shame, shame” from all present.

Mr Tahir Abbas asked why one person had been holding a post in the UPPC for 15 long years? He said that our voice is not being heard, and that democratic norms are not being followed in the least at UPPC. He decried that invites for events at UPPC are sent selectively. He demanded that UPPC membership should be opened for all journalists and election to LWJU should be announced immediately after the membership drive. Ms Kulsum Talha said the biggest problem facing journalists was that they had no support system in times of trouble. She said journalists and their families should mingle, and that she was running ‘Media Nest’ for welfare of journalists and their families.

Ms Talha remarked that only journalists with access to “pancham tal” get support and facilities, and said ‘Media Nest’ was providing group medical insurance for its members. She stressed, “once a journalist, always a journalist”. She said a. membership drive (for UPPC) had been started, and for that it is not necessary to be a member of any union

Former UPPC treasurer Mr Durgesh Shukla said it was in the interest of all journalists that their association / union remained active. For this, he said the three things necessary are meetings or conventions, elections and agitation. He said even if the union agitated on any one issue, it would remain active. Mr Shukla said UPPC membership drive was an absolute necessity. He emphasised the importance of unions in raising issues related to working conditions, health, insurance and housing etc. He said not only office-bearers but members, too, were responsible for taking up these issues.

Mr Arvind Singh Bisht said such meetings were a platform for communication, and should be called from time to time as a regular practice. He said that at these meetings, attempts should be made to appreciate each other rather than criticise any one. He described the meeting as a “good beginning” and said issues related to journalists’ welfare, housing, insurance,pension and UPPC membership for all journalists etc should be taken up.

Mr Bisht regretted that nowadays despite the advanced technology being available, communication had receded. He thanked Mr Tripathi for organising the meeting and said this should be continued in future. Mr Anoop Srivastava said journalists seemed to have become selfish and “insensitive”. He said when a fellow journalist is admitted to hospital, no colleague even pays him a visit. He remembered when ‘National Herald’ was shut down, journalists sent food and other things to their colleagues in need.

Mr Yogesh Mishra, secretary, UP State Accredited Correspondents’ Committee, congratulated everyone for this beginning. He lamented that we often meet families of fellow journalists on their death. He stressed the need for our families to meet each other. Mr Mishra congratulated Mr SS Goswami for the revival of the journalists’ pension scheme. He also kept a proposal for a trust which would publish an annual magazine to collect a general fund to help journalists tide over problems like illness and unemployment.

Mr Pradyuman Tiwari said several unemployed journalists were facing hard times, and that we should all join hands to form a forum which would be able to help journalists in such difficult times. Mr Sanjay Bhatnagar stressed the need for a “joint platform”. He said there was no “inner democracy” among journalists. He demanded that pending elections should be held immediately and UPPC membership should also be started for all journalists. He said all issues could be solved if democratic functioning was restored.

Mr Rakesh Pande suggested that such meetings should be held more often. Mr Mahesh Pande said no journalists’ union had done anything for district-level journalists. He said there is a large force of stringers who work for Rs 200 to Rs 500 per month, and even spend out of their pocket to continue working. He said unions should unite these people, and work for their welfare. Mr Pande also suggested setting up a fund for journalists’ health and medical needs.

It was announced that Mr Mahesh Pande had recently retired from ‘Hindustan’. Everyone congratulated him with a round of applause for his successful innings in journalism. Mr Ram Dutt Tripathi suggested that a co-ordination committee be formed with Mr SS Goswami as convenor to take up issues related to jaournalists’ welfare. The committee was formed on the spot with about 15 members. It was decided that the committee would meet every Saturday.  Mr Tripathi pointed out that the wife of DK Tandon, former Assistant Editor, Swatantra Bharat, was very ill. Mr Hisam-ul-Islam Siddiqui, President, UP Accredited Correspondents’ Committee, was also present.

(यूपी प्रेस क्लब, लखनऊ में 10 अप्रैल को पत्रकारों की एक बैठक हुई जिसमें करीब 50 जर्नलिस्ट्स मौजूद थे. इस बैठक में किसने क्या कहा और क्या कुछ तय हुआ, इस बारे में आई प्रेस रिलीज को यहां प्रकाशित किया गया. भाई लोगों ने अंग्रेजी में प्रेस रिलीज भेजा, इसलिए इसे अंग्रेजी में ही प्रकाशित किया गया. -एडिटर)

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