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National Press Day

November 16 is a significant day  for Indian media. The day is celebrated as National Press Day. It was on this day of 1966 that Press Council of India came into existence. 

The Press Council of India was set up on the recommendation of the first Press Commission (1954). The commission expressed some important views regarding Indian press. It opined that despite some shortcomings such as yellow journalism, sensationalism, indecency and vulgarity there were some newspapers of which the country could take pride. Most importantly, the commission recommended  setting up of a statutory and autonomous body. Acting on this recommendation, Press Council of India was established with the objectives of preserving the freedom of the press and maintaining the standards of newspapers in India. The sole objective of the council is to ensure a free and responsible press. It emphasises not only on maintaing the standard of the press, but it also works as a watchdog so that press freedom is not shackled by the influence or threats of any factor. Justice J.R Mudholkar was the first chairman of the council. Presently, Justice CK prasad is holding this prestigious post.

Indian Media is going through a crucial phase.There are numerous allegations such as sensationalism, paid news,vulgarity and dearth of responsibilities against media. Corporatisation is  an important factor for  pessimism that has been prevailing in current Indian press. Freedom of Press as well as safety of journalists is also a matter of  concern.

In 2016 World Press Freedom Index brought out by ‘Reporters without Borders’, India is in the rank of 133 out of 180 countries. On Saturday Dharmendra Singh , a repoter with Dainik Bhaskar in Sasaram, Bihar was shot death by miscreants. This is the sixth murder of a journalist this year  in India.Situation is  alarming in the context of Assam also. 26 journalists had been killed in the state since 1991. Still there are number of incidents taking place relating to attacks and threats to the scibes.

On the other hand, the pay rate for journalists except few media houses is not satisfactory. Journalists are still fighting for the implementation of the recommendations of majithia wage board. So, if we expect our press to act freely and in a responsible way, the problems they are facing must also be addressed. Otherwise, celebration of Press day will remain futile.

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Rinku Pathak's picture

Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Tezpur University

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