Editors’ Guild lashes out at Press Council chief

The Editors’ Guild of India* has responded to the remarks made by the chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju, in recent interviews and interactions with the media.

Below is the full text of the editors’ guild response:

“The Editors’ Guild of India deplores the ill-considered, sweeping and uninformed comments on the media and on media professionals by the new chairman of the Press Council of India, Justice Markandey Katju. Mr Katju has been making negative statements on the media ever since he assumed office, but his comments in an interview to Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN, broadcast over the week-end, touched a new low.

“The Guild notes that Mr Katju thinks the media divides people on religious lines and is anti-people. He objects to TV channels that focus on cricket and other subjects that he disapproves of. He believes that journalists have not studied economics, politics, literature or philosophy, and he has a poor opinion of the media and media people (some of whom, as it happens, are members of the Press Council that Mr Katju chairs).

“The Guild notes that Mr Katju, after expressing such sweeping negative sentiments, has asked the government for draconian powers to impose fines on the media, to withdraw advertisements and to suspend the licence to publish or broadcast. The Guild strongly opposes such powers being given to the Council, especially a Council led by someone who it would seem wants to invoke “fear” in the media.

“The Guild wishes to draw attention to the fact that its attempt to engage in dialogue with Mr Katju has been rendered futile by Mr Katju, who however continues to express his tendentious and offensive views. The Guild wishes to remind Mr Katju that the Indian media is as diverse as it is vigorous, and that while it has drawbacks and shortcomings, on the whole it contributes to the strength of the Indian system.

“Press freedom is a bulwark for the Indian people against the onslaught of people in authority, and the Guild will firmly oppose the assumption of any draconian powers by a Press Council that was created with an altogether different purpose. Further, as the very name of the Council suggests, only the print media comes within the Council’s ambit. The issues and drivers of the electronic media are such that they call for separate regulation. Therefore the Guild firmly believes that the Press Council should have its brief limited to the print media, as it is at the present.”

T.N. Ninan, editorial director of Business Standard, is the current president of the editors’ guild. Coomi Kapoor, consulting editor of the Indian Express, is the secretary.

* Disclosures apply

Also read: ‘I have a poor opinion of most media people’

Raju Narisetti: ‘Good journalists, poor journalism, zero standards’

Aakar Patel: Indian journalism is regularly second-rate

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7 Responses to “Editors’ Guild lashes out at Press Council chief”

  1. twistleton Says:

    Boohoo!

    Blustering filibuster tactics, won’t work :P

    The media loves making sweeping statements, strange that they take exception when someone else does it…

    Where is that report on Paid News??

  2. mysore peshva Says:

    The guild’s position is a bit ironic… One would think journalists would better appreciate dissent or criticism.

  3. narayana, narayana! Says:

    When did we ask the judges, sitting or -ex, to sit on judgement on things like economic theory, political science, literature or philosophy! Nor have the people let the media dictate people’s taste in these matters. Let judges stick to their judiciary and let media give us unbiased news. Mr Katju has a point, though. Non-news is news on most channels and newspapers and the serious news either avoided or coated or gilded according to the press’s paymasters, the corporates or political parties.

  4. Brahmanyan Says:

    Justice M.Katju is correct in his evaluation of modern trend in media both print and visual. Corporates and Politicians control the Press by the Ad revenue for the media. The infamous Radia tapes have exposed the link between the Press and the lobbiyists. Press Council should look into themselves first and take course correction measures instead of criticizing the comments of Hon.Judge.

  5. Karmasfinger Says:

    Wow…! “Press freedom is a bulwark for the Indian people against the onslaught of people in authority”… !? Do these people know what a bulwark is…?

    I am laughing my ass off! You cannot choose to be a bulwark for the Indian people selectively. Like when it suits you to bash a certain department, bureaucrat or politician because you weren’t granted favours and cosy-up to the same people later.

    What have you, the “bulwark” press, done about the state of our government schools and hospitals? Why are they not up to a decent standard? I know of a surgeon in a government hospital, in Mangalore, struggling with dodgy surgical equipment, power cuts, leaking and mould ridden roof. I think he is an unsung hero as he still tends to patients and does his job while “BIG B’s Bharat ratna” is debated. Get your priorities right!

    You as press, need not search very hard. It is just so easy to find such instances all around you. Why have you not taken up such issues and brought the focus into them? Is it because there is no money or gain out of it? Is it because it is not very entertaining?
    Is it because it is too trivial for the “ever-so-busy-to-catch-a-breath” media/press? Or, is it because of a lack of scantily clad, pea-brained celebrity line-up for such issues?

    If you’re short of ideas or issues to investigate, any sane literate Indian in any city, can give you a big list of issues to work on.

    Press Council! my foot!!

  6. mounaprasad Says:

    With people like Burqa Dutt, Arnab Goswami, Rajdeep, Prannoy Roy etc…the press/tv journalists are hard to believe when they say they are bulwark for Indian people…all these people are sold out to the highest bidder

  7. K.Balasubrahmanyan Says:

    Mr Katju is right on many points.only he has not been polite to the so called media experts.they need to introspect and do better.No harm in some one telling what is wrong with you. bala

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