To help create a healthy news ecosystem for the digital age, 11 digital news organisations came together to launch DIGIPUB News India Foundation on Tuesday.
“DIGIPUB News India Foundation has been created to represent, amplify and evolve best practices to build a robust digital news ecology that is truly world-class, independent and upholds the highest standards of journalism,” a press release announcing the launch of the association stated.
A key aim of the foundation, the release added, was to “underline the fact that pursuits and interests of legacy media may not always be the same as that of digital media – especially in regards to regulation, business models, technology and structures”.
The founding member organisations of DIGIPUB are Alt News, Article 14, Boomlive, Cobrapost, HW News, Newsclick, Newslaundry, Scroll, News Minute, Quint, and Wire.
Membership is limited to digital news outlets and journalists currently operating in India.
Uniquely for such associations, though, DIGIPUB is open to independent and freelance journalists working in the digital media. The press release states, “The Foundation does not believe that only organisations should represent or voice the needs of the digital news ecosystem. It is imperative to recognize the contribution of independent journalists in forming the bulwark of this ecosystem.”
Dhanya Rajendran of the News Minute is the association’s first chairperson; Prabir Purkayastha of Newsclick is the vice chairperson; and Ritu Kapur of the Quint and Abhinandan Sekhri of Newslaundry are general secretaries.
“As digital news media organisations gain greater prominence in our lives for providing credible information and safeguarding democracy, this concerted effort by digital-first news outlets will enable us to keep the ecosystem healthy,” Rajendran said. “This will help us come together to solve the massive challenges faced by the industry today.”
Asked what the need for this foundation was, Kapur said, “Independent digital-only publishers have been at the forefront of strong, fearless journalism, and have often been under threat. It was important to have a body that represented their voice, that would protect the interests and needs of independent newsrooms and journalists. The Quint is delighted to be a founding member of DIGIPUB News India Foundation.”
In India, television news channels and newspapers have self-regulators, the News Broadcasting Association and the Press Council of India, respectively. But there was no such body representing digital-only media organisations, and DIGIPUB seeks to fill this vacuum.
There are that claim to represent India’s digital media. One is the Digital News Publishers Association, or DNPA, which includes the Times Group, India Today group, Hindustan Times, NDTV. The second is the , or IDMA, which has Republic TV, India News, Odisha TV, News X, Sunday Guardian, OpIndia and Goa Chronicle as members.
While the IDMA counts two obscure regional websites from Gujarat and Assam as its members, the DNPA is an association of legacy media organisations with digital operations and does not include a single digital-only publication.
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