International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses its solidarity with
Indian colleagues who have been engaged in an effort to uncover the full
dimensions of the “cash for coverage” practice that came to light during
recently concluded general elections in the country.
practice was first noted during the extended campaign for the general elections
parliament, between March and May this year. Further instances of cash payments
being used to secure favourable media coverage for particular candidates and
parties were recorded during the general elections to three state legislative
assemblies in October.
notes that some of India’s most distinguished journalists, including the late
Prabhash Joshi, Ajit Bhattacharjee, B.G. Verghese and Kuldip Nayar, have made
representations to the Press Council of India (PCI), about the threat to media
freedom inherent in the “cash for coverage” practice.
Pradesh Union of Working Journalists, a member organisation of the
IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), has taken note of this practice
and conducted a wide-ranging public dialogue on its implications in the
southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
Union of Journalists, also a member organisation of the IJU, has made a
representation to the PCI, expressing serious concern about the “use of money
power” and a “variety of machinations which are tantamount to unfair and
unethical practices” to influence media coverage during the recent elections.
notes that Professor Madabhushi Sridhar, a well-regarded media scholar from
Andhra Pradesh, has contributed significantly to the growing public awareness
of this issue.
communication to the DUJ, the chairman of the PCI, Justice G.N. Ray, observed,
“The disturbing phenomenon of ‘paid news syndrome’ which has widely surfaced in
this year's general election is
under serious consideration by the Press Council of India and a special
committee has been constituted by the Council to gather all relevant
information about this malady.”
The IFJ is
encouraged by the constitution of an inquiry committee which consists of the
PCI chairman and two members, K. Sreenivas Reddy and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, both
distinguished journalists who have worked closely with IFJ-affiliated unions in
“The IFJ wishes
the inquiry into this abuse of media freedom all success. A credible
investigation indicating possible correctives will be an apt tribute to the legacy
of the highly esteemed Prabhash Joshi, who sadly died four days ago,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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