New Media Accreditation Scheme fails to address issues of small & medium Newspapers

golden yug
[ June 06, 2017 ] It seems that Department of Information and Public Relation, J&K is taking one step forward and two steps back and which is also evident from the fact that after the hard work of days together suggestions were given to department after the latter asked for the same but most of them have been ignored. It is unfortunate to note that some of the issues creating wedge between two regions were yet again not addressed much to the disappointment and agony to small and medium sized newspapers in Jammu. For the interest of general public and for the higher-ups running the department, suggestions are being published once again so as to rethink over the ignored suggestions. Besides Director Information as convener of committee to convene the meetings of the SMAC, both the Joint Directors from Jammu and Kashmir division should be as joint conveners and also Dy director (PR) as member secretary should be included to convene the meetings of SMAC. Accreditation of representatives of only those news Media Organizations should be considered SMAC which have been functioning or operating for at least for 10--15 years continuously. As five years experience is too little for a journalist to get accreditation Card as at this stage a journalist is not in a position to comment on outside happenings the way he should. Therefore the time period should be raised from 5 years to 10-15 years. This will be great injustice with the journalists who work for a newspaper which is not empanelled as what about those journalists who have capabilities of good journalist and writing good effective stories in the public interest. So denying such journalists the accreditation cards will prove a disaster for all those budding journalists who start their career from a small newspaper and later join big media houses with their capabilities and good sense of reporting the events .So such journalists should not be deprived of such cards as unempanelled papers will in near future will be empanelled and as per the policy their experience will not be recognized which is otherwise their fundamental right to be treated decently when he is doing the same job as is being done by journalists working for newspapers getting Govt advertisements. What if journalist after leaving the newspaper on whose behalf he/she got accreditation card doesn’t personally inform about the decision and is informed by third person and continue using the card even after he left the job. The department should keep strong vigil so that no any journalist misuses the card when he is not working anywhere or working with other newspaper. Moreover it should be mandatory for editor of newspaper to inform the director/ joint director and Dy director PR of this development very next day. The power to recall accreditation cards should also be vested with joint directors and Dy directors as director information remains available where Secretariat functions and it will be difficult for him to conduct such exercise in both the division properly. Timely verification of capabilities of journalists is fine but it should be mandatory for all the journalists who stake claim for the card should have their names published in printing line of newspaper simply because several journalists write down stories with their names but their names find no mention in the printing line of said newspapers which is absolutely wrong. Before issuing the card, department must ensure that the name of journalists should find place in the printing line and also with the story he/she writes for his/her agency for which they work besides the stories should be thoroughly introspected to find out whether the stories compiled by journalists are just edited form of Information press notes or it is investigative report in public interests. As there is no parameter specific to find out whether the journalist is full time or part time, so there should be the mention of his/her name in printing line as if he works somewhere he will hesitate in getting his name published in printing line and if he is full time journalists, then the editor will not have any difficulty in doing so. Moreover his/her name should be in the record of Labour department to verify that he works for a particular agency as full time journalist and not part time and whether the CP fund is deducted from his salary by the management of agency for which they work under the Labour Act. To utilize the experience of all rank employees dealing with news and views during their tenure in department should be considered for the accreditation cards if they wish to choose to offer their services as journalist, however 5 years experience clause should not be applied on them. It should be mandatory for editors to attach salary statement of employees through banks to confirm the time period that for this period he/she remained in the office as full time journalist’s before recommending their names for the accreditation cards. Mere recommendation letter in absence of ample proofs documents should not be considered for the cards. All the journalists should be allowed the set criteria and norms for the accreditation cards and there is absolutely no need for making adjustments on provisional basis as there is every likelihood that it will in turn invite nepotism and opportunity to sycophants which may misuse the card which is otherwise difficult for journalists to fulfill the criteria. There is no need to give provisional accreditation card to journalists who left the previous agency on whose behalf he got the card for six months as they first of all should be allowed to join the new agency and then once again should apply for the card with the kind consent of his editor with his duly signed recommendation letter. Bank account details of both the subscriber and the agency should be viewed to verify that the news agency having the claimed subscribers as most the agencies in state so far giving services free of costs. This is dicey situation as to produce 20 subscribers for accreditation card is not a big deal at all. Moreover these agencies should produce news items other than the press notes from Information department so that their reach may benefit readers. Then only they should be considered for accreditation cards and also the agency should have an experience of more than five years of sending news to its subscribers. Rules are ok but the monitoring should be done on monthly basis by the officials of department so that their credibility remains in focus and for effective monitoring it should be done by joint directors at the divisional level so that deserving ones get accreditation cards on the basis of their news coverage. The point separately is not at all clear whether as per the policy A category newspapers can get 11 accreditation cards, B- Category 8, C- Category 6, D -Category 4 will get equal number of accreditation cards in both Jammu & Kashmir separately. Moreover quota under A category is too much and rather its quota should be divided among below D category newspapers. If the newspapers are published from both the divisions separately under the same title, will their quota be same in both the divisions as the circulation registered by such newspapers has always been on state basis. Moreover department must ensure the jurisdiction of cards as it has been observed that entering into the jurisdiction of one division to another results in ignorance of the journalists with regard to participation in state level important events and at home is no exception of particular division which should be addressed also. Any accredited journalist found reporting in violation of prescribed norms, not only their cards should be cancelled for five years but also there should be provision for punishment, however five years should imply that wherever he works that period should be counted. Suggestions purely aimed to ensure justice to hardworking journalists and no entry of those who are sycophants and having sweet tongue to seek undue favour and pitting them against highly professional journalists doing their hard work to raise their coverage standard. Moreover in this competitive era, where our PM talks about Digital India and Make in India and promoting Aadhar Card as all important document, all media persons should be brought under the preview of Aadhar Card to ensure transparency in their working. To raise the quality and power of Information identity cards, the rules should be framed in the department so that it becomes rule book and provider and seeker get satisfaction for those who don’t have accredited cards. If there is clause that Editor can’t apply for accreditation card, same should be applied for his family members who apply for the card by terming themselves correspondent and if he is real journalist and has worked and written stories and news items in the public interest, his experience of five years should be from other newspaper as the family members can manage stories written by others by paying them and using their own name with the stories written by others for them.