Journalism Bodies in India

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Professional Bodies An Overview

NOTWITHSTANDING the impressive growth of the big and medium newspapers and in spite of all-round inflation in the country, the wages of journalists in India continue to be very low. Two statutory wage boards (one for working journalists and the other for non-journalists) were constituted by the Union government in June 1975 and February 1976. respectively, but these were not able to function effectively. The government, therefore, appointed a one-man tribunal headed by a retired Supreme Court Judge, Justice D. G. Palekar. in February 1979 for recommending a new wage structure for journalists and other newspaper employees.

The Palekar Tribunal, in its interim report, recommended revision of pay scales of both journalists and non-journalists to compensate for the rising cost of living, The tribunal has classified newspapers into nine categories. the highest being those newspapers which have a grass income of $31 million to $62 million a year. Under the lowest category come newspapers with a gross income of less than $62,000 a year. The recommended wage for a newly appointed reporter in the lowest class newspaper is $60 per month. A reporter of an A class newspaper (that is. with a gross income of $12.5 million annually) is recommended a monthly wage of $125. Even this recommended wage for journalists is lower than the existing salaries of bank clerks and public sector workers who get average emoluments of $125 to $150 after putting in a few years of service.

As early as 1891. there existed a Native Press Association in india. in 1915 the Press Association of India was formed to defend the interests of the press and protect it by legislation and executive action. By the 1920s many pressmen’s associations were formed. The Indian and Eastern Newspaper Society (IENS) was formed in 1939 as a central organisation of Indian. Burmese. Ceylonese news papers to promote their corn mon interest, especially business interests. Today, the IENS has no members from Burma or Sri Lanka but its Indian member ship has gone up substantially The LENS currently has 350 member-publications and 170 accredited advertising agencies It has emerged as the most powerful representative organisation of the newspaper owners mostly those running big and medium dailies and periodicals.

The other prominent organisation is the All India News papers Editors’ Conference (AINEC), founded in 1940. It was the first professional organisation in India to take up the question of working conditions of journalists.

The Editors’ Guild of India was formed as a direct consequence of pressures on the press during the Emergency (197577). The Guild seeks to promote professional standards, to uphold the freedom of the press and other mass media and to safeguard editorial independence.

The Indian Languages Newspapers Association (ILNA) (founded in 1970), the Specialised Publications Association (1959). the Trade and Technical Publications Association (1957). and the All India Small and Medium Newspapers Federation (MSMNF) (1968) are some of the other organisations of editors or newspaper owners.

Among journalists’ associations are the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ). the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the All India Newspaper Employees Federaration (AINEF). The IFWJ founded in 1950. is a federal all. India body representing journalists' trade unions. The IFWJ claims to represent a large number of working journalists in the country. The NUJ has fewer members than the IFWJ. The Press Guild of India. established in 1955, has both journalists and non-journalistic members. Persons eminent in public life are made honorary members.

Trade and professional asso ciations include the Audit Bureau of Circulations (registered in 1948), the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAl) (1945). the Advertising Council of India (1959). the Society of Advertising Practitioners (1953). the National Council of...
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