Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-Chief, IBN Network, has been unanimously been elected as President of Editors’ Guild of India. Sardesai is the first ever TV editor to be elected to this post and he takes over from Alok Mehta, Editor, Naidunia Delhi. K Sachidananda Murthy, Resident Editor – Delhi, The Week, has been re-elected General Secretary, while India TV COO Rohit Bansal has been elected the treasurer at a meeting held on November 17. Bansal takes over from YC Halan, former Editor of Financial Express who had held this post for the last five years.
Following his election, Sardesai told exchange4media, “For a long time, Editors’ Guild was seen as a print dominated forum. So, it is an honour that someone from the electronic media has been elected its President. Though TV is comparatively a younger medium, yet it has been slowly getting recognised and now it has come of age. I am fortunate to have been a part of both print and broadcast media. I’d worked for six years in print and have been television for the last 14 years. I’ve enjoyed both the medium. I should compliment my predecessors in the Guild like Alok Mehta, who for the last couple of years has been drafting electronic media editors into the Guild.”
Speaking on his agenda as the Guild President, Sardesai said, “I have a five-point agenda to develop synergy amongst print, television and the Internet.”
Elaborating further, he said, “Future of media cannot be print versus TV versus Web. Thus, firstly, I would like to see that the division amongst these is abolished and all of us work as a community. I will see to it that even the representatives of Internet portals are made members of the Guild. Second is to infuse slightly younger members into the Guild while at the same time drawing from the experience of veteran editors who are among the finest and brilliant journalists. The idea is to use the energy of the younger journalists and the rich experience of the veteran editors. Thirdly, to make this forum less Delhi-centric by inducting members from different parts of the country. Fourthly, to have free and fair exchange of ideas and to respect the concerns of editors and journalists. Fifth agenda is to protect the independence of editors and journalists during the discharge of their professional duties. We will resist any form of interference, be it from the Government in the form of official Code of Conduct for the broadcast media.”
It may be recalled that Sardesai had been instrumental in drafting the self-regulated code of conduct for the broadcast media in consultation with the Editors’ Guild.
Speaking on the occasion, Murthy said, “When more and more print media groups are taking to television and more and more print journalists are embracing the broadcast media, it is a natural progression for the Editors’ Guild to have a President from the electronic media. Sardesai started out as a print journalist and excelled as a TV journalist. He has been taking a lot of interest in the Guild activities, and for the Broadcast Bill 2007, he had given a lot of inputs to the Guild. Hence, we thought he was a good choice for the presidentship of the Guild.”
Incidentally, there has been a tradition of sorts in the Guild elections, wherein the general secretary of the previous year becomes the president in the following year. However, Murthy, who was General Secretary last year, declined to take over the Guild Presidentship this year.
The Editors’ Guild has 225 members. TV journalists have only recently been inducted as members. Sardesai as President is a sign of changing times and a sense of confidence of print media editors in the combined institution of TV, print and New Media.
(With additional inputs by Puneet Bedi Bahri)