Principal Correspondent : Working Committee meeting of the National Union of Journalists (India) was held in Chandigarh, in this two-day day after brainstorming, several resolutions were passed. Giving information, East Zone National Secretary Sanjay Pandey said that this decision has been taken in the presence of all national and state officials including NUJI National General Secretary Suresh Sharma and National President Manoj Mishra. Journalism has special importance in a democracy that is why even without constitutional recognition; journalism has been accepted as the fourth pillar of society. The compilation and publication of news are acting as a bridge between the system and the public. If we remember the old politicians in this context, then India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and poet heart Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpai have propounded the importance of journalism in democracy on many occasions. Due to this, its importance is known and it automatically becomes an essential character for the country.

Recently in Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, several incidents of harassment of journalists and obstruction in the compilation of news have come to the fore. But incidents like the killing of journalists after news publication, cases against them in various sections, and harassing them are shameful in democracy. The National Union of Journalists (India) demands from the Government of India to enact a Journalists Protection Act to ensure the safety of journalists. The cases to be registered against journalists should be first discussed by the key officers like District Magistrate. If there is any fact in it, then only a case should be registered. The mafia trend has increased rapidly in the country, in such a situation an advisory should be issued to the police administration in which every journalist should be taught to be treated well. This meeting of the Working Committee of the National Union of Journalists (India) also instructs the office bearers to send a letter to the Central Government and the State Governments with this proposal, so that journalists can properly discharge their obligations to preserve democracy by being free from harassment.

A journalist should also be included in the Ayushman scheme

A journalist is a vigilant watchdog of democracy. He has to travel to different areas every day to compile news. Mentally he has to be alert throughout the day, in such a situation, the journalist keeps fighting with health problems. It would also be time to say that only a small section of journalists comes under the purview of the pay scale fixed by the Wage Board. In such a situation, the financial side is the biggest problem of the journalist. Keeping this in mind, earlier some state governments used to provide free medical facilities to the preferential journalists. But over time it kept getting cut and the facilities went missing.

Now the Government of India has presented an important scheme regarding health in the form of Ayushman Yojana. This scheme is providing a health security guarantee to the poor and common people. The National Working Committee of the National Union of Journalists (India) demands from the Central Government to issue an order to include journalists across the country in the Ayushman scheme. This will have a direct impact on the health facility of journalists as well as the health of democracy.

Vehicles of journalists should be toll-free

In this National Working Committee of the National Union of Journalists (India), the problem of journalists from across the country has also come to the fore that their vehicle has to pay toll tax at many places. By the way, there is no provision for a dual tax system in the Indian Constitution. Road tax is charged for life on the purchase of a vehicle, so it becomes the responsibility of the government to provide good roads.

Now the burden of road construction is being passed on additionally on the vehicle users. Administration, public representatives, and some special people are given relief from the toll. In some states, there is a provision of relief to the preferential journalists by the state governments. Journalists are deprived of this facility in the case of toll tax on the National Highway. Journalists are also the watchdogs of democracy like public representatives and deprive this facility seems like bias.
This working committee of the National Union of Journalists (India) demands from the Central Government to provide relief by duly issuing orders to exempt journalists from toll tax at the toll plazas built on the National Highway.

Railway concession of journalists should be restored immediately

The country is slowly recovering from the corona pandemic. 95% of railway operations have resumed. The railway is again moving towards profit by doing good business. In such a situation, this working committee meeting of the National Union of Journalists (India) demands from the Ministry of Railways, Government of India that the railway concession given to journalists should be restored immediately. This working committee of the National Union of Journalists (India) also demands from the Ministry of Railways, Government of India that journalists’ quota should be made available to get priority reservation of journalists so that journalists can travel travel immediately for business work.

Sanjay Pandey