The Accredited Journalists Association and the Press Club of India organized a seminar on “Media Freedom in India” at the Press Club of India today in which Siddharth Varadarajan, Founder Editor of “The Wire”, Ananth Nath, President of the Editors Guild of India, Press Club of India President Gautam Lahiri and Association President Vijay Shankar Chaturvedi attended. The meeting was presided over by the PCI president and veteran journalist Gautam Lahiri.
Three renowned journalists, columnists and writers Vivek Shukla, Lalit Vats, Ira Jha and a photojournalist Kamaljeet Singh were honored with the Excellence Award for their outstanding contribution to journalism.
Speaking on the occasion, Siddharth Varadarajan, Founder Editor, “The Wire” said that during the current regime unfortunately senior editors, reporters, YouTubers and even sting people face extreme apprehension and fear in filing their news stories.
Expressing his deep displeasure, anger and disappointment over the imposition of sedition charges against senior journalists like Mrinal Pandey, Raj Deep Sardesai and Vinod Dua, who have transparently reported the problems of farmers during the long agitation and the Covid 19 pandemic founder editor, of “The Wire” said that now is the time to write about such harassment and victimisation related issues in detail and strangulation of media freedom.
Strongly condemning the continuing attacks on media freedom and on everyone from editors to journalists reporting on the ground, senior journalist Varadarajan said that the time has come to stand united and firm against the ongoing oppression, irrespective of ideological affiliations and differences. There should be a united fight and outrage against those trying to stifle the voice of media fraternity at the all India level.
He urged the people and the media fraternity to stand united to suppress and counter the evil intentions of those in power and successive state governments who are bent on crushing the rights of media, its freedom and journalism.
Siddharth Varadarajan told through various examples how the Central and many state governments have started creating obstacles in the normal functioning of the media.
He said that journalists will have to fight together against the attacks on press freedom. Everyone was of one opinion on this.
Narrating the recent incidents of stifling of media freedom PCI president Gautam Lahiri said that they have protested strongly, sent memorandum to president Draupadi Murmu and a letter to chief justice of India seeking justice . He thanked the president for responding quickly and sending out letter/ memo to concerned authorities asking them to take urgent remedial measures and sent the action taken report to the PCI though they haven’t got anything till now. He also acquainted about the concrete legal cell being formed by PCI comprising of eminent lawyers, journalists etc to deal with such eventuality in future.
Senior journalists n columnist Vivek Shukla, Lalit Vats, Ira Jha and photo journalist Kamaljeet have been doing pro-people journalism in the capital for decades.
Vivek Shukla has been active in media for the last 35 years. During this period, he worked at top positions in media organizations like Hindustan Times, Dainik Bhaskar and News 24. Nowadays, he writes regularly for Navbharat Times, Times of India, The Tribune and BBC. He has been writing daily and weekly columns for Navbharat Times for the last eight years. He wrote a unique book in English named as Gandhi’s Delhi in 2019 and this year another book named Delhi’s First Love Connaught Place. Both the books have earned tremendous accolades from its readers across spectrum.
Apart from the two Prime Ministers of India, Chandrashekhar and Inder Kumar Gujral, he has also conducted long interviews with British Prime Minister John Major, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Trinidad Prime Minister Vasudev Pandey. Vivek Shukla mainly writes, reads and researches on matters related to South Asia, Business and Delhi.
Lalit Vats is a fearless crime reporter. He is in Times Group. He started journalism in 1982 by writing news and articles in some local newspapers of Delhi.
He commenced regularly working as stringer for Navbharat Times in November, 1984. After his published several popular news, he got permanent appointment in Times Group. Dozens of news stories done as a crime reporter by him for Navbharat Times and Sandhya Times came into limelight. There were also news related to the families of some national leaders that created quite a furore in political circles. He was also the President of Delhi Crime Reporters Association from 1992 to 1997 and also went there and reported during the peak years of terrorism in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.
During this time he also earned appreciation from editors like Rajendra Mathur, SP Singh, Ram Kripa L, Sat Soni, Madhurendra Sinha. Retired from Sandhya Times as Principal Correspondent in 2016. Since then, he has done regular reporting on national politics, investigative agencies and international issues for Sandhya Times.
Ira Jha is the first woman Hindi journalist in the country to command the main desks of two national newspapers.
Her articles and reports were also published in Dainik Hindustan Daily.
Apart from important issues like environment, legal issues Ira used to write on the anomalies of that region about which the world was unaware till then.
His accurate prediction of the first assembly election result of Chhattisgarh in the year 2003 became very popular in Dainik Hindustan.
Ira Jha’s report from the Naxalite camp after walking miles in the dense forests of Bastar was also highly appreciated.
She has a special hold on Naxalism, tribal and environment as well as legal issues.
Was senior news editor and in-charge of NCR edition at Hindustan.
After that, she remained the political bureau chief of Navbharat newspaper in Delhi for many years.
She has also visited countries like Spain, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Uzbekistan etc.
She had the privilege of working with renowned Hindi editors like Vaidik, Vishnu Khare, Rajkishore, Mrinal Pandey, Suryakant Bali, Alok Mehta, Madhusudan Anand, Shyam Vetal etc. Along with this, Shambhunath Singh, Vishnu Nagar, Pankaj Sharma, Arvind Mohan Mishra, Virendra Barthwal, Ibbar Rabbi, Harish Aggarwal, Arun Ranjan, Sanjay Puglia, Shailesh, Ranjit Kumar etc. have been colleagues.
Apart from Navbharat Times and Dainik Hindustan, she has done journalism in publications like Patliputra Times, Delhi Press, Yuvak Dhara, The Sunday Indian etc. Apart from these, Dainik Bhaskar, Dainik Jagran, Amar Ujala, she has also written for Hind Sat, Sunday Delhi, Hindi News 18 portal etc.
Kamaljeet Singh, renowned photo journalist also worked as a laborer in Times Group. He later became a photojournalist in the same group after completing his graduation and thereafter learning photograhy.His contribution as photojournalist in Times of India group earned him accolades for his outstanding photojournalism.
Of course, credit has to be given to Vijay Shankar Chaturvedi and Sunil Negi for today’s successful program. Under the patronage of these two, the entire event was successful in which a large number of new and old newspaper journalists were present.