BENGALURU: In the wake of the recent killings of journalists across the country, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has demanded that an act be implemented to ensure the safety of working journalists.
Speaking to mediapersons on Friday, Devulapalli Amar, IJU president and member of Press Council of India said, “We have observed how journalism is becoming a dangerous profession, right from the murder of Gauri Lankesh to the burning of Chakresh Jain, a journalist in Madhya Pradesh. Politicians’ intolerance, communal forces and other anti-social elements are leading to these attacks. We want the Parliament to enact an act for the safety of journalists in all states.” Even as some state governments like Maharashtra have come forward with the initiative, the union said it was not enough and that a uniform act was needed.
“Our second demand is for a new wage board in the country, as 90 per cent of the journalists are on contract. The Supreme Court ordered newspaper managements to implement the Majithia wage board recommendations but very few have done it. Majithia wage board period is coming to an end and we need a new one,” Amar added.
Their third demand was for a uniform pension policy for all journalists, irrespective of accreditation. “We are asking for Rs 15,000 pension per month for journalists who have attained 58 years of age. In the next two days, we will chalk out an action plan after deliberating on these demands in the national executive committee meeting in Bengaluru,” he said.
Amar added that IJU was fighting for rural journalists to be paid, as there were thousands who were giving their service to media houses for free. The national executive committee meeting will take place on July 6 and 7 at Reva University.
SN Sinha, former president of IJU and ex-member of Press Council of India, said, “We are demanding for a change in the Working Journalists Act that covers only newspapers, to include electronic and web media journalists. Once that is done, the new wage board can be for all.”