CHURUMURI POLL: Do journalists need a licence?

As if the “idiots” in the media didn’t have enough problems to deal with—paid news, corruption, wage board, 12-minute-per-hour ad caps, cross-media controls, job losses, recession etc—the Union information and broadcasting minister Manish Tewari has now floated the kite of a “common examination” for journalists as a precursor to giving them “licenses” to operate, a la doctors and lawyers.

Bearing an eerie resemblance to press council chairman Markandey Katju‘s “order” advocating “some legal qualification” before one can enter the profession, Tewari’s proposal has the stamp of the control-freakery which has convinced the Congress-led UPA that the media is its chief problem—not the scams, scandals and shenanigans that have pockmarked its second term.

“I think a good starting point (for media education) would be that rather than prescribing a curricula which is then standardised across institutions, possibly the media industry could think about at least having a common exam. Like you have a Bar exam, like you have a medical exam or exams which are conducted by other professional bodies, which then issue a licence, which enables you to pursue your profession,” Tewari has said.

Tewari’s proposal for a “common examination” for journalists comes less than a month after the Supreme Court of India threw out the UPA’s move for a national eligibility and entrance test for life-saving medical colleges.So, does a national eligibility and entrance test for journalists stand a chance? Is it required? Will it necessarily produce good journalists or good journalism?

Even more dangerous is the thought of “licensing” journalists? Who will do that? The government of the day? A press council appointed by the government of the day? The local journalists union? Can this license be revoked or rewarded depending on favours rendered? Will a licence in one language, one state be valid in another? Etcetera.

Above all, could an examination and licence impact the freedom of the news media?

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External reading: How licensing journalists threatens independent news media

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Aakar Patel: Indian journalism is regularly second-rate

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Say ‘No’ to India’s blogger control act

Narendra Modi‘s disgraceful assault on media freedom

An Emergency-style witchhunt of the media

‘Darkest hour for the media since Emergency’

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4 Responses to “CHURUMURI POLL: Do journalists need a licence?”

  1. austereseeker Says:

    First an exam for politicians, please.

  2. harkol Says:

    Who is a ‘journalist’? Anyone who writes and maintains a public journal? Isn’t everyone who blogs a journalist in that sense?

    How would govt. stop people from writing or expressing their opinions? At best govt. can formulate rules for providing the ‘press’ badges, not decide who is a journalist.

  3. Deepak Says:

    As usual rubbish idea from Mr.Hot Air. To be a lawyer or a doctor one compulsorily needs to learn law/medicine and undergo certification, considering the fact that these are technical professions. Journalism is not technical and doesn’t even need a formal qualification – all that is needed is good communication and a keen nose for news. When this is the case, passing an exam is a joke. BTW : If exams are conducted, wonder how many esteemed journalists will pass?

    And if certification is required for professions, lets start with politics first. Let politicos (especially Mr.Minister’s “young boss”) clear exams first, lets see how many of them can even get 35% marks.

  4. Goldstar Says:

    In a contest of stupidity between Lawyers and Journalists, who will win ?

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