CHURUMURI POLL: Do journalists need education?

He hasn’t quite spelt out which colleges we should go to, what subjects and courses we should take, in which language, or what pass-percentage is OK.

At least not yet.

But Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju‘s “order” on “some legal qualification” before one can enter the profession of journalism has been met with near-unanimous ridicule from mediapersons.


In the Hindu, Outlook* chairman Vinod Mehta calls the move “absolute rubbish”:

“Some of the greatest journalists the world has produced have been without university degrees. I am a BA fail and was academically the most undistinguished student in school and college. And I haven’t done too badly.”

NDTV group editor Barkha Dutt, who has journalism degrees from Jamia Milia and Columbia school of journalism:

“The best training is on the field. While I can see the arguments about ‘declining standards and quality in journalists’, I do not believe the answer was in ‘more degrees’. (paraphrased)

Sashi Kumar of the Asian college of journalism:

“Most hard-nosed reporters who do unconventional beats, break scoops and exposes, are in the regional language press. And they are not necessarily MAs or PhDs. This is an ill-considered move and reflects Justice Katju’s ignorance about the field, and strikes at the root of freedom of expression.”


In a letter to the editor of The Hindu, the veteran sports correspondent Partab Ramchand writes:

“It might be relevant to mention that I am a matriculate (second class) and I joined the profession virtually straight from school nearly 45 years ago without any training whatsoever in journalism and with just a knowledge of sports which I followed closely from my school days.

“I never saw the portals of a college and have never felt any regret in this regard.

“I have worked in various leading newspaper groups, heading the sports department on a couple of occasions, have gone on international assignments and am an author of 10 books on cricket. I fully endorse Barkha Dutt’s view that the best training is on the field which is exactly what I went through.”

* Disclosures apply

Infographic: courtesy The Times of India

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

Editors’ Guild of India takes on Press Council chief

TV news channel editors too blast PCI chief

Has Justice Katju been appointed by Josef Stalin?

Justice Katju ‘sorry’ for calling journos idiots

Bonus: How much is one divided by zero? Don’t ask

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

18 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Do journalists need education?”

  1. kumar. R. Z. Says:

    He is shooting from that wole, off d rokkor,

  2. Deepak Says:

    To be a judge, the minimum qualification (not officially prescribed) is having common sense – which Katju totally lacks and is yet a judge. So he has no right to talk about qualifications of others. And anyways 90% are idiots, so what does it matter whether are qualified idiots or unqualified idiots?

  3. shiv Says:

    honesty and integrity are paramount to a journalist.Being a prostitute is not the right criterion for journalists whether educated in columbia college or wharton or chettiar school.Peddling view points on the basis of ones hidden beliefs( like the leftists who don’t openly declare their allegience) or taking cash to peddle ones views or get fat government contracts and be their spokesperson like many english media journalists have done to further their bank balances have disillusioned people like me.We roam now the social media networks and are hardly impressed by the present lot of mediocre journalists.

  4. RaoWords Says:

    Journalists are master in twisting the original words, they pick and choose words which create controversy and they are very happy doing this, until their TRP’s are high.
    They are never open to criticism, although they might be constructive, what Mr. Katju said was taken out of proportion, if a journalist is aware of legal requirements or consequences they could be much more helpful for the nation.
    I would like to give an example : One of the Leading Kannada News channel aired a programmed about the dueling movie couples and they even called their children to this show, they shouldn’t have done that, or atleast they should have blurred their faces on TV, but they didn’t do anything, this is completely against law.

  5. shaardu Says:

    as bbc’s manikanth thakur would say abb aaya oonth pahad ke neeche. and thus fell the camel under the weight of ever growing burden.

    other pronouncements of katju were being heralded as great insights. and now that the tides have turned journalists have their chaddis in a twist?

  6. Vishnu Says:

    I am sorry to disagree with the seniors here. The world had changed a lot from the 60s and 70s where educational qualifications did not matter, and the journalistic spirit was the only qualification required. But now, we live in a world of information explosion and specialized subjects. Each of these subjects require good knowledge on its own. I would disgaree if the Indiam media czars think that there is no problem in a Literatute graduate covering a Genetics conference or an IT bootcamp. The reports that emerge from such a reporter will be ridiculous. Yes, understanding and covering politics and third-rate cinema may not require much education, but there are other areas like science, law, technology, foreign policy, international affairs, and IT that require considerable knowledge to not only cove or write stories, but discover story ideas.

    Moreover, most of today’s Indian newspaper readers are also reading international dailies and magazines on a daily basis. They are very much aware of the huge difference in the quality of stories, depth of knowledge and issues covered, and expertise shown by western journalists and their Indian counterparts. In fact, readers do not care about the educational qualifications of the journalists, but when they read their stories they know whether the qualifications matter or not.

  7. asha Says:

    Journalists aka PIMPS(Paid Indian Media Professional service) who are supposed to be the corner stone of a thriving democracy like India are busy boot licking the establishment and making money on the side…whether they hold a college degree or not is not the point..whether they have professional ethics and integrity to uphold the truth at any cost is the question..which unfortunately they summarily lack. Journalists of the yesteryears like DVG did not have formal education but they had unquestionable ethics, integrity and commitment to journalism, but we have to be content with Barkha Dalal dutt, Vinod Mehta, shekar gupta, rajdeep and his wife in the current generation.

  8. Prasanna Says:

    My god, this guy was a Supreme Court justice. I don’t know how many of the cases he judged based on his whims and prejudices.

  9. harkol Says:

    In India no one needs legal education – because Justice system, of which Mr. Katju was one of the leaders, simply doesn’t work in majority of cases. You can fool it, drag it, and if after all that it ever came to judgement – some incomprehensible ‘justice’ will be delivered.

    How else can you explain judges granting liberal extensions, stays and appeals?

    How else to interpret the top most court letting foreigners go on ‘vacation’ while facing murder charges in India?

    How else do you explain Mr. Katju, releasing a rape convict on the condition he pays 1.5lakhs to rape victim?

    How else do you explain Sukh Ram being out on bail, on a case that has dragged on for two decades already and may never serve his prison term before his death?

    Perhaps it is time for Judges to learn a thing or two about ‘JUSTICE’.

  10. Sanjeeva Says:

    If our constitution has to be revised any time, Hon’ble Justice would be the best person to head the committee as he knows everything what is good for the country and what not, an exhaustive and comprehensive list of Do’s and Dont’s for diferent segments of people – a sort of mixture of modern Chanakya, Socrates, Manu, Sarvajnya!

  11. Nastika Says:

    One more idiocy from Katju, on why Sanjay Dutt must be pardoned:

    a. The event happen in 1993 i.e. 20 years ago.
    During this period Sanjay suffered a lot, and had a cloud hovering over his head throughout. He had to undergo various tribulations and indignities during this period. He had to go to Court often, he had to take the permission of the Court for foreign shootings, he could not get bank loans, etc.

    b. Sanjay Dutt has already undergone 18 months in jail.

    c. Sanjay Dutt has got married, and they have two small children.

    d. He has not been held to be a terrorist, and had no hand in the bomb blasts.

    e. His parents Sunil Dutt and Nargis worked for the good of society and the nation.
    Sunil Dutt and Nargis often went to border areas to give moral support to our brave jawans and did other social work for society.

    f. Sanjay in this period of 20 years has through his film revived the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and the message of Gandhiji, the father of the nation.


  12. Deepak Says:

    @Nastika – Wow!! Its touching to see how Katju’s heart bleeds for criminals! After all isn’t he the judge who let rapists go free. With judges like him, our jails will improve quickly – they will be no one there, better pardon everyone and send them to reform.

  13. asha Says:


    To think that this moron Katju was a SC judge gives me shivers. We need to relook at all the judgement this idiot has passed when he was a judge.

  14. asha Says:

    The next time any of my north indian friend tries to convince my about bollywoods greatness I am going to strangle him..I arrived at this decision after watching all the bollywood buffoons defend the moron sanjay dutt.

  15. Sanjeeva Says:

    I am waiting for Hon’ble Justice’s valuable advice to the country – Do away with the legal system!

  16. Deepak Says:

    @Sanjeeva – Nope sir, he doesn’t want to do away with legal system, he just wants to exempt the rich and mighty from it!!

  17. Ankan (@ankankr) Says:

    Well, journalists do need some education. Most Indian journalists seem to have issues in logical reasoning, and are innumerate (i.e. not able to understand or make arguments based on data). This leads to hyperventilation, sensationalism and generally low quality work.

    Considering a B.A. fail like Vinod Mehta could rise to such high ranks in journalism, imagine how much saner discourse a journalism community populated by more intelligent people could give us.

  18. Prathibha Joy Says:

    A minimum qualification to turn in error-free copy.
    A minimum common sense to check, double check facts and ensure that both sides of the story are presented in unbiased fashion.
    With common sense, am assuming, the reporter will know just how to stay clear of cops and courts :D

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: