TODAY -

IJU calls for uniform pension scheme
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, January 13 2022: Indian Journalists Union (IJU) on Wednesday called for a uniform working journalists' pension scheme (WJPS) across the country.

In its national executive meeting (NEC) held in Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh, IJU urged the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre to introduce a uniform WJPS.

The meeting was organised by Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) in collaboration with Arunachal Press Club (APC) .

"Different state governments have introduced pension schemes for journalists, such as Arunachal Pradesh, which is providing the highest amount of Rs 25,000 and there is Assam and Karnataka giving Rs 10,000, Manipur Rs 8,000 for retired journalists.

At the same time, the Odisha government introduced medical coverage of Rs 5 lakh to working journalists and their families in the state," the IJU stated in its resolution.

India's largest working journalists' organisation further stated that the journalists, who carry out their duties to keep the public informed, are ill-paid and are overworked.

The working and economic condition of the journalists in semi-urban and rural areas is miserable, it said and urged all state governments, which are yet to implement pension scheme for journalists, to immediately take steps to introduce it for all working journalists, irrespective of accreditation.

IJU also expressed grave concern over the surveillance of at least 40 journalists, among 300 others, including opposition leaders, ministers, constitutional authorities, activists, through hacking of their phones by Israeli Pegasus spyware.

It is of firm opinion that snooping on journalists, is not just a breach of their right to privacy like any other citizens, but worst compromises their sources, amounting to stifling independent and investigative journalism.

It makes note of the fact that the government chose not to come clean on the issue and tried to wash its hands off the snooping scandal by suggesting the Pegasus report was to 'malign the Indian democracy.' This is far-fetched and unacceptable, it asserted.

NEC welcomed the probe ordered by the Supreme Court of India by formation of a three-member committee under a retired SC judge.

While the NEC awaits anxiously the findings of the report, it hopes that the surveillance of journalists is viewed as yet another form of intimidation of journalists, especially those critical of its governance.

Demanding for better and safer working atmosphere for women employees in media houses, IJU NEC demanded the government to ensure that its guidelines for better and safer working conditions for women are adhered to by institutions.

Honouring the demand is imperative as large numbers of women journalists are facing hurdles in carrying out their responsibilities as well as skewed policies impacting their promotion prospects.

In particular, the NEC demands that media houses provide maternity leave, childcare leave and night transport to women journalists.

At the same time, the NEC called upon all media nouses to have in place the mandated internal complaint committees to entertain sexual harassment cases and give justice to the victims.

IJU NEC at Itanagar further urged the central government to declare the journalists as 'frontline workers'.

It specifically sought to draw New Delhi's attention to the grim fact that over hundred journalists across the country have lost their lives in this past year, 45 alone in the second wave of the pandemic.

It is reported that only few states have declared journalists as frontline workers.

NEC reiterated its demand that the present Press Council of India be converted into a Media Council with some more statuary powers, so that there is peer supervision over the media of all platforms, print, electronic and digital.

It also expressed solidarity with Afghan journalists and condemned the sustained attacks on journalists under Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

It urged the central government to provide refuge to Afghan journalists like it did in the past on humanitarian grounds.


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