Journalists need qualification, social media regulation: Katju
By Express News Service | Published: 06th April 2013 08:21 AM |
Online censorship should not stop with amendments to the Information Technology Act 2000. Checks and balances against social media are necessary to curb defamation, offensive material and threats to national security, believes Chairman of the Press Council of India Justice Markandey Katju. “There should be a process of filtering content which goes online. So far, we have not been able to bring social media under any regulation as most of the founding companies are based outside India. With time, there is a need to develop technology to check what goes online,” observed Katju who was in the city for the Meeting of Inquiry Committee-II of the PCI to hear 19 cases against media houses and bureaux in the four southern states.
The representatives of PCI also had a meeting to decide on the recommendations for minimum qualification for journalists. “Every developed profession needs formal training and formal qualification. Previously, those practising indigenous medicine learnt from a senior or their fathers. Now a medical practitioner needs a degree. Similarly, journalism has developed as a profession and there is a need for qualification. True that there have been many great journalists without formal training or degree but there have also been thousands of mediocre journalists due to lack of professional training,” said the chairman of PCI. Chief editor of Nai Duniya and member of PCI Shravan Garg will head the six-member committee which will set down recommendations for what makes a journalist and the norms required for institutions offering degrees in mass communication. “Certain criteria need to be fixed for the institutions imparting education in journalism as colleges have been mushrooming all over the country and need to be regulated. Further, we will involve all stakeholders including representative of media houses and hold seminars which will address the concerns,” said Shravan Garg.
In response to a question whether electronic media which lies outside the ambit of PCI will be required to follow the stipulations if the recommendations are accepted by Parliament, the convener of the committee said it will define the qualifications of a ‘journalist’ whether in print or broadcast medium. The chairman of PCI took some edge off the erstwhile ‘low opinion of media.’ “I am not painting everyone with the same brush here. The journalists most of whom are contract employees lack job security which has to be ensured. Otherwise, they fall into the trap of enhancing their incomes through paid news,” observed Katju.