A joint meeting of the Delhi Union of Journalists and the Delhi Press Unity Centre was held today. The meeting unanimously resolved that the historic Supreme Court judgement on the Majitha Wage Board notwithstanding, a broader united front to fight for its implementation was the need of the hour.
It further noted that the basic problem of insecurity in the newspaper industry for the bulk of the workers had been created in the last 20 years through contractual employment of journalists which had muzzled freedom of the press, freedom of association and has led to mass scale retrenchment of workers and journalists.
The meeting took strong note of the fact that in the profession of journalism today around 80 per cent of journalists who would be still serving have lost their jobs and more than 75 per cent are employed on contract. As such the fight for both implementation of the wage board and fighting the menace of contracts has to be treated as twin dangers in the press to be fought together to ensure that gains of the historic Supreme Court judgment which has also upheld the Working Journalists Act be fought for the entire press including the workers.
In another resolution the meeting decided that the Working Journalists Act be made applicable to the television and broadcasting industry also where workers were being sacked daily or even working without appointment letters.
The meeting cautioned its journalists members against the pernicious influence of paid news which were again being reported. It called upon all political parties to join hands to ensure that a Media Council replace the Press Council and a Media Commission of experts from various media including unions be promised by the political parties in their manifestos.
It called upon its members to be ready for a joint and united platform to save the media, for a new and more equitable information order with living wages not bonds of contract.
It was unanimously resolved that as suggested by previous commissions urgent steps were required to at least enable the traditional newspaper agencies whether big or small to survive even it be through a newspaper development corporation for news agencies and scientific and literary journals and papers. The corporation could also help language agencies to flower and bloom to atleast blossom even after so many years of independence.
S K Pande
DELHI UNION OF JOURNALISTS