Katju widens scope of committee on journalism standards

New Delhi: A day after issuing his controversial order to constitute a committee for recommending qualifications for journalists, Press Council Chairman Markandey Katju today widened the scope of the committee to enable the press watchdog to supervise and regulate journalism institutions in the country.
Unfazed by the criticism of his decision on qualification for journalists, he issued a fresh order citing provisions in the Press Council Act that gives power to it to maintain and improve standards of journalism, including the power to supervise and regulate journalism institutions.
"Hence the Committee constituted by me yesterday shall in addition to its mandate…shall also recommend in what manner the Press Council can supervise and regulate the functioning of the institutions and departments of journalism in India so that high standards of imparting knowledge in journalism are maintained," a statement issued by Katju said.
He also added three more members to the panel — PCI members Gurinder Singh and Rajeev Ranjan Nag and IIMC Director General Sunit Tandon. Yesterday, he had appointed PCI members Shravan Garg and Rajeev Sabade and Dr Ujjwala Barve, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Pune as its members.
Meanwhile, top editors found fault with Katju's move describing it as a "silly" and "misconceived" step which "betrays" lack of understanding about the profession.
The South Asia Media Commission also said the move for prescribing "by law" qualifications for journalists was "uncalled for and objectionable" and it has to be "abandoned without delay".
"It is a silly move and betrays a lack of understanding about journalism," T N Ninan, Chairman and Director of Business Standard and Editors Guild President, told PTI.
Rajya Sabha member H K Dua, who edited Hindustan Times, Times of India and The Tribune, said one cannot learn the qualities a journalist need like professional ethics and desire to serve society in a journalism school.