PCI alive to pitfalls of contract system in media: Justice Ray

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Lucknow, Mar 24 (UNI) Chairman of Press Council of India (PCI) Justice G N Ray today said that the quasi-judicial body was alive to the pitfalls of contract system in media organisations.

Addressing a seminar on ''Contract System: Freedom of Press and Ethics'' at the Hindi Sansthan here today, Justice Ray said that all PCI members were committed to the cause of press freedom.

The members will do whatever possible to prevent the contract system from harming the liberty of freedom of expression sanctioned by the Constitution to all, including the journalist fraternity.

''We are alive to the pitfalls of contract system in media organisations and will do whatever possible to prevent the undermining of freedom of press by such practices,'' Justice Ray added.

The subject was discussed at the last month meeting of the PCI and a sub-comittee has been constituted to look into the matter in detail and submit its report as early as possible, Justice Ray added.

Meanwhile, speakers including senior journalists and social activists like former Lucknow University Vice-Chancellor Roop Rekha Verma, blamed the collapse of the ''welfare state'' for causing the corporatisation of Indian society, which has been reflected in the sphere of media, through greater sensationalism and increased fear of loss of jobs among journalists, courtsey the contract system.

The speakers also blamed the corporatisation of media for the present trend of journalism where social and development journalism had taken a backseat and ''Page Three'' journalism was prospering.

''Contract system breeds from the corporate philosophy of news is what sells, which has transformed journalists from reporters and editors to news collectors and agents,'' the speakers added.

A common call of bringing the electronic media within the purview of the Working Journalists Act and providing more powers to the PCI was given at the seminar organised under the joint auspices of Indian Journalists Union and Uttar Pradesh Working Journalists Union.

UNI ARS MJS SP0936

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