The anger of Editors’ Guild is not so much on denial of access per se to the journalists but on the condition of a fixed appointment.
The Editors’ Guild of India is miffed; it has felt disrespected and distrusted. All because of the Union Finance Ministry has insisted, by a new Order that even journalists accredited by stipulated government agencies will have to take a prior appointment from the ministry before they are permitted to enter the North Block portion of that ministry.
Here below is the press statement issued on July 10 by the Guild founded in 1978.
It must be noticed that the Guild’s anger is not so much on denial of access per se to the journalists but on the condition of a fixed appointment. One fails to see as to why there is fetish insistence on roving access to the Parliament corridors — of the aao jao ghar tumhara type.
“The Indian Express” quickly jumped in to support the Editors’ Guild statement above. On the very next day, July 11, the newspaper’s first editorial was titled “May we come in?”
As a senior PR executive for over 30 years in both public and private sector corporate firms, I know from personal experience how disturbing it is to stop working on, say, the annual Directors’ Report with a deadline and, instead, have a “friendly” chat over coffee with an intruding journalist. And I’m tickled over the Guild’s assertion above that journalists do not go to government offices for enjoying the comforts and hospitality of visitors’ rooms. I have even had to respond to a famous English daily’s News Editor who telephonically requested for an extra piece of the gift distributed on the previous day at my British company’s Press conference.
But our media houses rarely, if ever, cross swords. Thus it was that “The Indian Express” quickly jumped in to support the Editors’ Guild statement above. On the very next day, July 11, the newspaper’s first editorial was titled “May we come in?”
That editorial’s first sentence with the admission that “There is no ban on the entry of media persons, the Ministry of Finance has ‘clarified’ and thereafter goes on with several “ifs” and “buts”. It says “The specific period of quarantine to protect the secrecy of the (annual finance) budget, has now been extended and enlarged into a blanket and arbitrary curb on the press’s access to the Ministry and its officials”. If there is no ban, then why the protest? Because, says the edit, “this attempt to fence off a crucial ministry from the media gaze, sends out unflattering signals. The government is insecure and distrustful, it says. It does not trust the institution of the press, or, for that matter, its own officials.” In short, the so-called ban is simply a matter of signals of doubt and fear of the ministry.
The edit ends on a sort of a confession by conceding that “It (the so-called ban) may also be that the move may invite no great resistance from the public given the populist trend of cynicism about the media.”
To endorse its view, “The Indian Express” published a smartly written letter-to-the-editor column claiming that denial of access to journalists was contradictory to the Prime Minister’s slogan of Sabka Vishwas”.
Well, well. The newspaper itself would have earned our Vishwas and simultaneously lived up to its “Journalism of Courage” slogan if its Letters to the Editor space carried some of the 35-odd Comments that were thrown to its online edition.
Sorry, but some of them simply must be revealed to the readers of PGurus.com who, I believe, are not what the Express thinks are “the populist trend of cynicism about the media.”
So, because we also must have our say, here goes just a few of the choicest of those unedited 35-odd Comments:
The problem is very simple. Every journalist in this country think that he/she is above law, he/she can go anywhere do anything, call ministers with their first name without any shred of respect and to top it, most of the well-known journalists ‘work’ for big industrialists. During the Congress rule, the cabinet decision on policy issue used to reach ‘these’ big industrialists before it is made public. Such was the ethics of the journalists. Take my word, this Govt does not care about journalists. The Modi Govt knows very well that they are working for people. It does not matter what these so-called Prime Minister-Journalist write.
The journalists are inflicted by entitlement rights without corresponding responsibilities. The Editors Guild is a spineless creature.
Press has absolutely zero credibility, as it is heavily indebted to congress for all the largesse showered on it by congress and it shows in their bias. The power brokers are now being kept out of power centres.
Not so dear so-called Press, your credibility is long gone. Your alignment with “whatever is wrong” has resulted in a situation that even without you, we are fine. We have elected this government even when you opposed it since day one and the govt is communicating with us very well without your help. Kindergarten syllabus says your cry is due to cut down privileges. No more free lunches; please cope with it.
Press nowadays is spreading untrue statements made by Opposition Parties, hate news, not acting in a responsible manner anymore, they can not claim any special status as they are not neutral.
Press wants to consider itself holy and not answerable to anyone. Press and media in payrolls of ISI, Churches and Mullahs. Should not be listened. Better they shut their shops.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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