Bhadas4Media Web Portal
Our attention has been drawn to an item published in your portal, which says that the IFWJ led by Mr. K. Vikram Rao and IJU led by Mr. Suresh Akhouri are not recognized by the Press Council of India. To provide authenticity to the news item you have also reproduced the photocopy of the notification of the Press Council of India of 30th April 2014. However, we must categorically state that the Press Council has no business to recognize or derecognize any organization. This news item is bound to create confusion among your readers because it is based on half-truths. Needless to say, that half-truths are more dangerous than even total lies. The fact is that this notification of the Press Council of India is meaningless as the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has made it clear to the Press Council of India and to the Government of India that any selection from the category of working journalists would be subject to the verdict of High Court. The Hon’ble High Court has obviously found that the notification of the Press Council is erroneous.
May we bring it to the notice of your readers that the Press Council of India has been committing illegality and illegality and for which the Chairman and the Secretary of the Press Council of India are to be squarely blamed. The Press Council invited applications in the month of September last year for staking claims to be represented on it. The requisite criteria, among others, were:- (A) that the organisation(s) should be registered with either Register of Trade Union or Registrar of Societies for the last ten years, (B) it should an all-India body, (C) it should not be sectional in character, (D) it should have filed its annual return of three years with the applicable statutory bodies, (E) there should not be any dispute in any court of law about the concerned organisation.
Lo & behold! the Chairman and the Secretary of Press Council has accepted the claims of such organisations as are not fit to be qualified for staking the claims. Let us see one by one as to how they do not deserve even to file their applications claims;
Press Association of India: This organisation is not even a registered body, which can be verified from the website of the Registrar of Societies or the Registrar of Trade Unions. There is one organization namely; Press Association Delhi, which was registered more than 40 years ago .However, it has also not filed its annual returns even once to the Registrar of Societies during the last 40 years. Secondly, the Press Association of India is not an all-India body because it is confined only to Delhi and the NCR having its office in a government place in Shastri Bhavan. Thirdly; It is a sectional body because it does not represent the journalists of all-categories like; those of Sub-editors, Chief-sub-editors, Assistant Editors and Reports etc. Thus; it is a sectional and unregistered body having the limited area of its operation. In spite of it ,if the Press Council has accepted its claims than its shows that apart from requisite criteria ,something else not known to us, has worked an its favour.
Working News Cameramen’s Associations: As its name suggests it is totally a sectional body of camerapersons’, not of all categories of journalists. There are no documents available (as information under RTI reveals) in the office of the Registrar of Societies, its registration is still valid. It has never filed its annual returns with the office of the Registrar of Societies. Like the Press Association, it also does not have the all-India character because the list of the membership, which has been supplied to the Press Council of India, says that all its members are based in Delhi and the NCR. However, it is no less than a miracle that the duo of the Press Council of India i.e. the Chairman and its Secretary has done wonders by accepting its claims.
Indian Journalists Union (IJU) (S.N. Sinha group): This organisation’s claim has been accepted by the sleight of hands of the Chairman and the Secretary of the Press Council of India because the advertisement very clearly stated that only such organisations could apply which are free from any legal disputes. However, as its name exposes that there are two factions of IJU. We may tell your readers that Mr. Akhouri Suresh Prasad is the leader of the one and the other is led by Mr. S.N. Sinha. However, the balance of convenience lies heavily in favour of Akhouri Suresh Prasad because it is a registered body with the Registrar of Trade Unions. It has filed its annual returns year after year and yet it has been ignored to oblige the group for no plausible reasons.
Now let us see the situation of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ), which your report says is led by Mr. K. Vikram Rao. It is one and only composite organization of journalists and yet the mischief has got upper hand. It will be pertinent to tell that this organisation has been responsible for the enactment of the Press Council Act. Why has its stakes not been accepted by the Press Council is a mystery? This is an all-India organisation, representing all section of journalists; it is a registered body with Registrar Trade Union from 1972. It has been filing its annual returns every year and there is no dispute against it in any court of law. It has been representing the journalists on the wage boards and on many media related bodies, yet the Chairman and the Secretary of Press Council of India with their super wisdom has ignored the claim of the IFWJ. That is why; the IFWJ has approached the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, which wondered as to how this glaring illegality was allowed by the Press Council of India. We are attaching the copy of the order of the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, which will substantiate what we have said.
We have every reason to believe that something else has played the role in tilting the decisions in favour of the bogus organizations at the cost of the bona fide organization like IFWJ. In fact, this also shows that the rot, which has set in the Press Council of India, is now stinking to high heaven.