New Delhi, December 17: The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) today, while saying 'no' to terrorism and 'yes' to caution on media reportage of terrorism has called upon the government to desist from clamping down on the media be it visual or print and instead put in order a Media Council with teeth to act without pressure from the government or other vested interests.
In a press statement today DUJ president Mr. S.K. Pande, Vice-President Mr. Dinesh Chandra Ethics Council members Anjali Deshpande, Amit Prakash Singh, L.H. Naqvi, P. Sreekumaran and Sujata Madhok have stated the approach of a responsible body should be 'government big stick no, a well balanced Media Council at the All India level to begin with yes'. It is our contention that Media Council can evolve it own protocol to restore credibility in coverage in times of crises like the one witnessed in Mumbai and other such incidents that preceded it. The government should not take advantage of criticism of recent media coverage to curtail press freedom.
The DUJ also added that an open letter to members of parliament and the council of ministers will be issued to express serious concern at 'emergency adhoc measures proposed on the media and has instead called upon the parliament to make an amendment to the Press Council Act and put in place and all encompassing Media Council with more authority than that of Press Council of India.'
The Media Council in its opinion should be a body primarily of media persons, jurists and experts from civic society besides M.Ps rather than a government controlled mechanism to browbeat the press which can be counterproductive.
A Media Council the DUJ said is not only a demand of the DUJ, but various All India bodies including the Confederation of Newspaper and News agencies Employees Organisations, the Indian Journalists Union, the All India Newspaper Employees Federation, the National Union of Journalists India and the Indian Federation of Working Journalists have been demanding from time to time.
The Media Council should be responsible for drafting fresh guidelines on accurate, sensitive and ethical reporting in the print and Electronic Media and have adequate authority to enforce those guidelines. The Media Council should be authorised to hear complaints, summon evidence and penalise misconduct by Media Professionals and Media houses, the DUJ added.