The former Information and Broadcasting minister Manish Tewari felt during his tenure that there should be a proper examination for journalists conducted by Bar Council and issue licences to those who qualify. The objective behind this thought was to get a certain amount of standardisation in the media space.
According to a media report, government is planning for a regulator in order to monitor how journalism and mass communication is taught in the country. MIB ministry will call that formation a communication university.
The report also suggested how MIB is working on this initiative and has reportedly got a green signal from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The body will ensure the teaching process and curriculum of journalism being taught in the country.
We asked some of the leading editors in the country about their opinion on this initiative of the government. They felt enhancing the curriculum is a good move.
Siddharth Vardarajan, Senior Journalist, Editor and Writer said, “Today it will create an argument why government should intervene in this. The least the government can do is to facilitate an expert panel consisting of journalists, editors and lay persons in to order to formulate this.”
Vardarajan also highlighted an important issue that in this era of internet no one needs any qualification to become a journalist, anyone can run a blog, site and connect with the world.
While former secretary of MIB, Uday Varma feels it is a move which was required. “People who are coming in this profession will have a certain standard. It will help them to know how to bring quality, it will ensure responsibility in their work. Conceptually there is no problem whether it should be led by government or media bodies, the idea should be ensuring good education. Government must discuss this matter with the industry and ask them if they are warm to this idea,” he said.
He further said it is a move which is required and there is a feeling that good people will join this profession.
While R Sukumar, Editor, Mint feels it’s a good move and it will enhance the quality of journalism in school and colleges. He said, “Most of the other professions do have discipline and regulations. The curriculum has standards.” He also pointed out that the quality of journalism is quite bad in the country and there is only handful of decent schools in the country for journalism.
Not all share the enthusiasm. Former editor of Open Magazine Manu Joseph said, "The Information and Broadcasting Ministry should first attempt to create a course on how to become an I&B Minister. If it manages to achieve that we can grant the ministry the right to regulate journalism courses. Instead, if the I&B ministry wants to spend its time wisely, I suggest it bans itself. That would be a service to the nation."
He also said, “There are lot of young people who want to be journalists, there are people leaping from everywhere. It needs regulation and it’s a good move.”
While Sudhir Chaudhary, Editor in Chief, Zee News feels it’s a good decision until the government is not interfering in the editorial functioning. He said, “It’s good to enhance the teaching process, syllabus and functioning standard, I don’t think there is any problem until and unless they are interfering in the work of media organisations.”
He also suggested there should be use of technology in order to increase knowledge and more facilities are welcome, good books and syllabus are welcome.