On December 9, the National Alliance of Journalists and the Delhi Union of Journalists wrote an open letter to both the houses of the Parliament demanding that a national media commission be set up to “look into the manifold ailments that the media suffers from today”, Newsclick .
According to the report, while referring to the increasing dangers that media faces from the government and “monopoly press barons”, the letter said, “They seem to be working hard to kill both press freedom and all forms of job security and permanency in the profession. Journalists face prosecution and persecution for reporting on issues inconvenient to the government”.
It added “The national broadcaster Doordarshan as well as the Rajya Sabha TV have been turned into virtual drum beaters of the central government. Financial pressures and layoffs have been used to control all these institutions.”
The letter also said charges were being “filed against journalists for doing their job”. “Cartoonists have been charged for their jokes. Reporters are being prosecuted for reporting events inconvenient for the government. Many are being trolled. Many are being prosecuted for a tweet or a Facebook post.”
Citing cases like the imprisonment of journalist Siddique Kappan, the letter demanded “a separate law be enacted for the protection of journalists from arbitrary arrests and prosecution”.
It also said that there was an urgent need for an autonomous media commission. “It should go into the entire issue of monopolies and cross-media holdings to uphold the independence of the media. It must also be a wage fixing Commission which examines the financial status of media enterprises and recommends fair wages,” the letter said.