The three-member team of Press Council of India (PCI) led by Mr S N Sinha today held wide-ranging deliberations with the media owners, editors and journalists here to know about the issues confronting the media in Jammu and Kashmir.
The members of the visiting Sub-Committee include Mr C K Nayak, Dr Suman Gupta and Mr Naveen Joshi.
Director Information, Mr Muneer-ul-Islam was also present during the day-long deliberations.
The PCI team arrived here yesterday on a weeklong visit to have first-hand appraisal of the media scenario in Kashmir and the challenges confronting the journalists in the State. The Committee will give its recommendations regarding J&K media after concluding its ongoing visit to the State.
The PCI team commenced its deliberations with the editors and working journalists of J&K at the Conference Hall of the Media Complex here this morning which continued throughout the day.
The team held its first meeting with J&K Press Correspondents Club led by senior journalist Yousuf Jameel. The other members of the Club who were part of the delegation included Fayaz Bukhari of Daily Excelsior, Inayat Jehangir of PTI and Sheikh Qayoom of IANS.
It was followed by a meeting with Kashmir Working Journalists Association led by Mohammad Salim Pandit of Times of India, Mufti Islah of News 18, Mir Fareed of Times Now and Zulfikar Majid of Deccan Herald.
The third group of journalists who called on the PCI team represented the Working Journalists Association Kashmir and Young Journalists Association Kashmir led by Naseer Ganai of Outlook Magazine and Moazzam Mohammad of Kashmir Reader respectively. The other members of this delegation included Mir Farhat of KNS, Manzoor-ul-Hassan of Rising Kashmir, Hakeem Irfan of Economic Times and Fazal Hussain of Kashmir Monitor.
The working journalists apprised the PCI team about the issues confronting the media in J&K including implementation of Journalists Wage Board recommendations, health insurance cover, welfare measures, safety of journalists while reporting, additional facilities for accredited journalists, institutionalized mechanism for hiring journalists and ensuring job and financial security.
The journalists urged the PCI team that the advertisements issued by DAVP and State Government to media groups in J&K must be commensurate with the professional staff employed by the media groups and subject to provision of financial/medical aid to journalists who die or suffer injuries while performing their duties.
A delegation of J&K Press Photographers Association led by Farooq Javed Khan also called on the PCI team. Representatives of Kashmir News Agencies Association led by Tassaduq Ahmad of KNS, Suhail Khan of INS and Basharat Ahmad of API also called on the PCI team. Senior journalists Ahmad Ali Fayyaz and Maajid Hyderi also interacted with the visiting PCI team.
In the afternoon session, a delegation of Kashmir Editors Guild led by Senior Journalist and Editor, Kashmir Life, Masood Hussain, who is also the General Secretary of KEG, called on the PCI team.
The Editors informed the PCI panel about the issues faced by the media organizations in the state and the measures required to strengthen the media in the state. They said the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) should be empowered to act like a bridge between the government and the media. They also requested the team members to conduct regular visits to the state and designate some member to discuss the issues of editors of J&K.
The Jammu Newspaper Editors Guild comprising Prabodh Jamwal, Editor, Kashmir Times, Raj Daluja, Editor, State Times and A K Sawhney, Editor, Journey Line also interacted with the PCI team.
The Editors representing Jammu Newspapers Guild said the DIPR need to categorize newspapers for allotment of government advertisements on the lines of DAVP advertisement policy. They also demanded proper grievance redressal mechanism for news organizations.
The Sub-Committee members are also scheduled to meet the Governor, Mr N N Vohra, Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister, Mr Omar Abdullah, Information Minister, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali, Finance Minister, Dr Haseeb Drabu and Director General of Police Dr. S P Vaid.
The Sub-Committee will be visiting Jammu and Ladakh separately to interact with the media-persons there. The Sub-Committee had earlier visited the State in June 2012.