: Aligarh : H.E. M.Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India has said that India has every reason to be proud of the strength and diversity of media. However, and from time to time, there have been media-related developments that are disconcerting. They raise questions about the media’s objectivity and credibility. It includes cross-media ownership, the phenomenon of paid news, media ethics and need for effective and viable self-regulatory mechanisms, the declining role of editors and their editorial freedom and the need to improve working conditions of media personnel, their safety and security. He was inaugurating 17th Biennial Session of National Union of Journalists(India) here.
He referred different government committees formed for improvement in working conditions for Journalists. ‘The TRAI paper drew a direct link between uncontrolled ownership and paid news, corporate and political lobbying by TV Channels, propagation of biased analysis and forecast both in political arena as well as corporate sector and irresponsible reporting to create sensationalism’, he said.
‘The Standing Committee report on Paid News has asked TRAI and the Ministry of I&B to consider on a priority basis the matter of paid news as well as cross-holding in the media. It has proposed that urgent attention be paid to cross media ownership question before it emerges as a threat to our democratic structure’, he elaborated.
‘Our media today has grown in size and coverage. There are 93,985 registered publications, 850 permitted TV channels under news and current affairs category and 437 under non-news category. Doordarshan itself runs 37 Channels’, he informed. Shri Ansari hoped that deliberations over the next two days in the Conference would focus on these issues and come up with innovative suggestions, which may change the scenario.
Shri Ram Govind Chaudhary, Basic Education Minister, who was representing Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that UP Government is taking healthy criticism positively. He welcomed Shri Ansari and delegates from across the country.
Shri Prajnananda Chaudhuri, National President, NUJ(I) expressed his disappointment on not implementing Journalist’s Wage Board Report. ‘Most of the Newspaper organizations have adopted an approach to hire reporters on contractual basis. Journalists are not getting social benefits like PF and gratuity benefits. Paid news is another syndrome posing threat before new reporters. We have to think about these issues. New law should be enacted for the protection of journalists’, he said.
Shri Pawan Jain, Chairman, Reception Committee welcomed distinguished guests and delegates. Shri Raas Bihari proposed vote of thanks. Shri Rajendra Prabhu, Dr. Nandkishore Trikha, Shri P.K. Roy, Shri Ratan Dixit, Shri Rajeev Shukla and members from 17 states are participating in the Conference.