Editors’ Guild takes on Press Council chief

2 November 2011

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

Image: courtesy Mail Today

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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6 Responses to “Editors’ Guild takes on Press Council chief”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Mr. Katju can be accused of making some sweeping allegations against the Indian media, but he can’t be accused of telling pure lies. It’s an open secret that the quality of talent coming into the industry has touched an all time low. Katju is absolutely right when he suggests that political science, economics and history should be an essential part of their training.


  2. I am cent percent agree with new chairman of PCI and former Judge of Supreme court of India, Mr. Markandey Katju. He is right to say that media persons creates divisions in the society on the religious ans caste basis. According to me media persons in order to earn more money and to fulfill their ill-motived greed makes every sensitive issue a spicy one by adding unnecessary and irresponsible words and creates chaos among innocent people. Almost all the media persons in present day are guided by name, money and fame and for that they can do anything which is very dangerous for democratic country like India where most of the people are still innocent and follows media blindly.

  3. zubair Says:

    Let the editors guild please explain to the people, whats wrong if such draconian things are implemented? why are they afraid when only it is supposed to effect the guilty ones?

    And what was wrong in his statements about media being biased and playing divisive politics?

  4. Raj Says:

    The media should take the feedback in a mature way and ensure that they conduct their business in a better manner. Just like the politicians, they do not have the criticize the critic for the latter’s views, which is shared by a good section of people like me. The standards of Indian journalism has fallen-you just have to see the online archives of each newspaper and compare the present day journalism with the rest of the world. It does not require a five-year PhD to gauge the fact that people can now read between the lines and understand the imperatives of business. I will not blame the hapless journalist for the fall in standards but the journalist celebrities and the management who have allowed the standards and ethics to fall. Just look at the grammatical mistakes in the English dailies to understand that there is a cleanup required right from the basic stuff. Hubris is not wisdom and objectivity.

  5. Indian Says:

    The electronic and mass media departments of Pondicherry University is having unqualified teacher / professor due to the selection process had been very bad during their recruitment. The C.B.I. should be take action to inquiry against the appointment of professor and his contribution in the organization secretary for the conference conducted on 19-20.12.20011 and also take action against the new appointment in the two department i.e. electronic media and mass communication.

    one conference conducting by the above department of the Pondicherry University with teacher association (private) is very forgery because the professor, other mass communication department and other party of this organization and also the private teachers association who are conducting this Media education conference had received sum of Rs. 20,000/ for each paper from the paper presenter and he has refused to give chance to submit paper who are rejected to give bribe to him of the above amount to him. the reviewer is also get beribe amount from the private teacher association and also from the professor for clearing the paper to present in oral at conference. It is very criminal offence against the national and also under the IPC section. we have received tha complaint from some persons. Hence. this matter should bering before the CBI and Chief Vigilance Commission, and Government of India and also UCG for further action.

    Hence, the Pondicherry University should be cancelled this conference conducted on 19-20 of December 2011 by the electronic and mass media department of Pondicherry university immediately other wise it will take of before all enquiry authority as well as it will file case before hon’ble court for criminal action against them.

    All rejected parties are ready to give complaint to the vigilance commission and CBI and also before the hon’ble high court for criminal and curruption case aganst the above department of pondicherry university.

  6. krishnamoorty Says:

    The kind of immature responses to an equally immature remarks from Katju show the ugly face of the community of journalists pockmarked by extremism. That somebody has two degrees from two different universities hardly means anything. All these journalists including Vinod Mehta have little or no regard for one of the guiding principles of journalism: social responsibility. The Editors’ Guild killed more people in Gujarat than Modi ever had planned to kill.

    If the untrained journalist had a knowledge of law, he/she wouldn’t have sensationalized news and fiction about the rapedemic sweeping the country in which the press has misappropriated to itself the functions of the judiciary as it did in Manu Sharma trial and gloated. I know that Katju had said things that are not becoming of a judge of the Supreme Court.

    Every day you see reports in newspapers edited by this illiterate crowd which convicts some person or the other before he had the benefit of a court hearing.

    “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.”

    These words of the Guild make me laugh first, because they are taken from the Dictionary of Indian Media Cliches and second, I have seen the performance of these warriors of the fourth estate during the emergency when they stood in line before a minor official in the PIB seeking his approval of the day’s copy. The tragedy is that such people are at the helm of our press. Shame, shame and more shame.

    Krishnamoorty Dasu


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