IFWJ Demands Journalists to be Declared Frontline Workers

GG News Bureau
New Delhi, 2nd May. On the occasion of the International Labour Day, the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) has resolved to set up an all-India corpus fund for providing emergency help to the journalists of the country. This has become all the more necessary in view of the terrible Corona Pandemic, proving to be highly fatal to a large number of journalists. The suggestion to have a corpus fund came from UP’s Law Minister, Shri Brijesh Pathak who participated as the Chief Guest in the all-India Webinar of the IFWJ. In the time of Corona, the help that has been rendered by Shri Pathak to Journalists is well known, which was appreciated by one and all. Shri Pathak urged the journalists to follow the Covid- appropriate behaviour to save their lives as well as to help others. He said that he has personally asked many journalists to report from a distance as any carelessness in social distancing will jeopardise not only their lives but also those who come in their contacts.

IFWJ’s Vice President Shri Hemant Tiwari said that with the efforts of the organisation and Shri Brijesh Pathak scores of Journalists have got medical and monetary help from the government during the Corona time. Shri Tiwari emphasised that the government must declare journalist as ‘frontline workers’ and in case of any casualty, their family should be given adequate monetary support so that they may not have to undergo depression and trauma for a long time. The education of their children should be taken care of by the media houses and the government because without them it would not have been possible to give reports of the terrible conditions caused by Corona.

The key speaker in the Webinar was Shri Deepak Sharma, the veteran journalist of the electronic and print medium, underlined that the journalists will have to be always on the guards and maintain the norms as suggested by the doctors because the saving of the life has to be given the utmost priority. Shri Deepak Sharma was of the view that on this occasion of ‘May Day’, the apex body of the Journalists, the IFWJ, will have to make arrangement for frequent interaction with the journalist and to provide succour. He remembered his former colleague Rohit Sardana of Aaj Tak, with misty-eyes.

The webinar was conducted by the senior journalist and the Secretary of IFWJ Shri Siddharth Kalhans, who said that ‘firstly the Corona has taken away the livelihood of the journalists and then started taking their toll’. At the beginning of the meeting, a two-minute silence was observed to pay homages to departed journalists. The IFWJ Vice President Shri Vibhuti Bhushan Karr said that the Odissa Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik has agreed to provide one-time financial support to the tune of Rs 15 Lakh to the families of Journalists deceased by Corona.

The Vice President Shri KM Jha informed that a delegation of journalist today met the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan, who has appointed a nodal officer to take care of journalists and announced the financial support of Rs 5 Lakh to the families of journalist died due to Corona. It may be mentioned that an amount of Rs 5 lakh is also given to the families of departed journalists in Rajasthan.

Shri Surendra Sharma of Mumbai said that Corona has caused much havoc in Maharashtra, but we cannot sit idle and curse Corona all the time. The journalists will have to make a collective effort to defeat the Covid-19. Dr Ramesh Thakur from Delhi also welcomed the idea of having a separate corpus for journalists and he demanded that journalists should also be declared warriors like those of Doctors, Nurses and Police personnel. Shri A. S. Negi, the President of the Delhi Union of Working Journalists (DUWJ) suggested that journalists must have to remain united and vigilant to get their rights from the media owners. Young journalist Rupa Dass from Bengal said that the organisations of journalists will also have to work for obtaining employment for young journalists.

The IFWJ President BV Mallikarjunaih could not join the Webinar because of a technical glitch but he sent his message underlining the need for unity and concerted efforts to be made by journalists for the protection of their lives and jobs. Shri Kurlu Kariyakarwarna of Shri Lanka Press Association (SLPA) also sent his message expressing his solidarity of SLPA with the IFWJ in all its endeavours for the sake of journalists.

More than 35 journalists from all over the country participated in the Webinar, which was organised at very short notice. Among others who spoke on the occasion were senior journalist and IFWJ Working Committee member Shri Shyam Babu, Sudhanshu Bhushan Satish of Bihar, Ajay Ojha from Ranchi, Rajesh Maheshwari, Rajesh Mishra from Uttar Pradesh, Ashok Sharma, Rajesh Nirnajan of Patrakar Awaz from Delhi and IFWJ Treasurer Rinku Yadav. IFWJ Secretary General Parmanand Pandey said that the suggestions of all the speakers in the Webinar will be seriously taken note of and will be vigorously pursued. The next Webinar will be held on 3rd May 2021 coinciding with International Press Day.

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