New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) is mulling to enforce Central Civil Services Conduct (CCS) Rules for its teachers, who termed it as a bid to “gag them” and an assault on “academic freedom”.
The CCS Rules bar government servants from criticising any current or recent policy or action of the Central government or a state government.
A committee was formed in 2016 to deliberate on the issue, which in its last meeting on July 28 framed its recommendations including that the IIMC may follow all rules of the Central government wherever IIMC bylaws are silent.
It also mentions that some of the faculty members were not in favour of adoption of Code of Conduct in the line of Central government’s CCS Conduct Rules arguing it would affect their academic freedom.
When contacted, IIMC Director-General KG Suresh declined to comment.
The agenda document adds, “Some of them argued for ‘unconditional and absolute freedom’ and that media have to perform the role of watchdog and in this context no academic institution which professes and advocates the freedom of speech and expression can be confined to the narrow framework of service conditions.”
JDU MPs Ali Anwar Ansari, Ramnath Thakur and Kahkashan Perween, who wrote to Irani, have asked, “is this attempt to snatch the academic freedom of teachers in higher educational institutions appropriate?”
Two faculty members, on condition of anonymity, said they are not against any code of conduct but it would be a “transparent contradiction” that teachers of journalism are not allowed to express their opinion and critique on public policy and other relevant social, political and economic issues in the media.
Eight of 11 faculty members at the IIMC here had last month written to the Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Ministry, who is also Chairperson of the institution, accusing its DG KG Suresh of “targeting and defaming” them.
Suresh had reacted to the allegations saying many of these faculty members were into “activism” and their “tantrums” could be described as “theatre of the absurd”.