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Journalists’ bodies want electronic & digital media under Working Journalists Act’s ambit

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NEW DELHI: The National Alliance of Journalists Unions today submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi urging the Government to uphold the livelihood rights of journalists and their right to practice their profession in a safe environment.

Director V Seshadri, who received the memorandum, assured the journalists’ unions that the PMO would take due note of their concerns.

The journalists unions pointed to the dangers of eroding the legislative protection available in the Working Journalists' Act regarding working conditions and wages.

Despite Supreme Court rulings upholding the validity of the Majithia Wage Board Award for journalists and other newspaper employees, most newspaper establishments have refused to implement it, they said.

If this wage board award is undermined by the recalcitrance of newspaper owners, then it is unlikely that the Working Journalists' Act will survive as a protective legislation, the National Alliance warned.

They demanded an end to the contract system of employment and asked for extending the application of the Working Journalists Act to the electronic and digital media.

The National Alliance called for a new Media Commission to look into the state of affairs in the media, where unviable revenue models are forcing news media to function as an appendage to entertainment, real estate and other sectors. Rapid changes in the landscape media require a new regulatory framework that preserves the fundamental rights to speak and be informed, they said.

The unions also called for measures to protect journalists from physical attacks, legal persecution and arbitrary actions by the authorities.

The memorandum as also signed by office-bearers of Delhi Union of Journalists; Andhra Pradesh Working Journalists Federation’ and Telengana Working Journalists Federation.

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