Indian Journalists Union decries NDA move to scrap Labour Code Bills

Indian Journalists Union decries NDA move to scrap Labour Code Bills
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The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) on Wednesday gave a clarion call to the working journalists and editors to raise their voice against the “nefarious” designs of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to cut into the roots of press freedom in the country by repealing two legislations that protect the unique character of the profession of journalism.

Hyderabad: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) on Wednesday gave a clarion call to the working journalists and editors to raise their voice against the "nefarious" designs of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to cut into the roots of press freedom in the country by repealing two legislations that protect the unique character of the profession of journalism.

In two Labour Code Bills, one on Working Conditions and the other on Wages, introduced in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday, the government proposed to repeal the Working Journalists and other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act of 1955, and the Working Journalist (Fixation of rates of wages) Act, 1958 along with 11 other labour laws.

In a statement on Wednesday, IJU president and Press Council member Amar Devulapalli and secretary-general and IFJ vice-president Sabina Inderjit lamented that the government sought to equate 'fourth estate' with any other industry, but worse has brazenly favored the corporate media barons, who have persistently been demanding to abolish the Wage Board and do away with the Working Journalists Act. The IJU said the media houses time and again challenged the recommendations of the wage boards for the newspaper industry and the constitutional validity of the Working Journalists Act in Supreme Court unsuccessfully.

They said that "the government forgets the basic foundation for the Working Journalists Act was laid by the Press Commission in 1954 when it put into perspective the nature of the journalists' job saying "his work cannot be measured as in other industries" and that "insecurity of tenure is peculiar to this profession ....unemployment would not necessarily have that result in other professions."

The IJU leaders said that "A free and independent Press is paramount to any democratic society and any attempts to undermine the functioning of the 'fourth estate' must be fought tooth and nail as it would have adverse effect on the democratic polity."

The IJU has cautioned the journalist fraternity across the country that if it does not protest and garner support against the government's surreptitious move; it would be a death-knell for independent media and rights of journalists.

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