Government schemes for journalists – should media be okay with this?

The Telangana government led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao was yesterday visited by a delegation of journalists led by the Telangana State Press Academy Chairman Allam Narayana, who thanked him for allocating 30 crores in the Telangana Government’s budget for the welfare of journalists.

This scheme was announced by the CM in February 2017 wherein he stated that the government would allocate 10 crores every year for the journalists’ welfare. It is also mentioned in the press release of the government that in the last two budgets too, the government had set aside 10 crore each year for the scheme.

The money is aimed at helping journalists who fall sick or die. Rs 1 lakh has been announced as compensation for death, while family members will be provided Rs 3000 per month for a period of 5 years. The scheme also extends to the children of the journalists studying below the 10th standard would be provided Rs 1000 per month. The scheme also includes a provision for overseas scholarship.

- Advertisement - - Article resumes -

While citizens in distress do need help, a special treatment to journalists by the government does raise questions about the rationale. Such measures should ideally be undertaken by the employers of the journalists, which are usually private corporate houses and not by the government. Journalists do play important role in the society, but so do doctors or teachers or other professionals, many of whom are employees of private organisations. One could argue why no special welfare budget for these professionals?

What the government can do is make it compulsory for the employers to enact such schemes by bearing the expenses out of their own pocket.

Government giving a special status to journalists might lead to a mollycoddled relationship between the two institutions, thereby posing a risk to the objectivity and freedom of the profession. Further, this opens a pandora’s box as to who qualifies and who not for such schemes, because journalism is not a profession where you need to have certain degrees from certain institutes. There will be charges of bias in choosing of beneficiaries of such schemes.

We had recently reported how some schemes for journalists have been used by certain governments (Mulayam singh Yadav in 1995) in order to dole out favor to the journalists who were inclined their party and disposition.

However, as it turns out, there are other instances of similar schemes which have been undertaken by other governments. The central Information and Broadcasting Ministry under the then UPA government had brought in modified guidelines [pdf] in 2013 for a similar journalist welfare scheme which was to come into force from 1st Feb 2013. The benefits too are similar, though the amount is higher; 5 lakh for deceased, permanently disabled journalists and 3 lakh for those suffering from major aliments among others. Such welfare grants are fairly common with accredited journalists being the most common beneficiaries. Such schemes have been implemented by the Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal, Chhattisgarh governments.

This is something the journalistic fraternity should ponder over, especially at a time when the mainstream media is losing its credibility. While it might have been a common practice till now, is it something worth continuing with?

Share and Support:
Support OpIndia by paying for content

Most read articles recently

Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Mizoram assembly election results

Latest updates and breaking news on counting day: EC declares 3 wins in Madhya Pradesh, all 3 go to BJP

Latest news and updates from 2018 assembly election results of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana, and Mizoram.

Statue of all ironies: Pritish Nandy uses example of fake news to spread fake news

Pritish Nandy shared a fake image which was earlier shared by Youth Congress leader

Prashant Bhushan and left-liberal cabal was actively helping Vijay Mallya in UK court by attacking CBI special director Rakesh Asthana

Vijay Mallya's defence team was using Indian left-liberals' allegations agaist Rakesh Asthana in London court

Fact check: Did BJP President Amit Shah and PM Modi call Baniyas cheaters and accuse them of profiteering?

Earlier, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had also been accused of making a casteist remark, which turned out to be a Photoshopped image

Here is why BJP lost elections, and of course, it was deliberate

What BJP supporters need to realise is this - no political party ever wants to lose and least of all, a party led by the two most politically aggressive politicians the country has ever seen.

After stopping BJP’s rath yatra, West Bengal government allows Hindu-hater Bangladeshi Maulana to address meetings in the state

BJP's rath yatra banned, Bangladeshi Islamic preacher welcomed in West Bengal
Image Source: Zee News

Sidhu knew of the opening before Imran Khan was sworn in, Kartarpur a bigger conspiracy by ISI: Captain Amarinder Singh

Pakistan General Bajwa had revealed the Kartarpur corridor news to Navjot Singh Sidhu even before Imran Khan was sworn in as their PM, Punjab CM Singh indicated “a bigger conspiracy" hatched by the Pak Army.
Vijay Mallya to be extradited

Big victory for India: UK court orders Vijay Mallya’s extradition who is wanted in India for a Rs. 9000 crore scam

The liquor baron, Vijay Mallya, is wanted in India in connection with an alleged scam worth Rs. 9000 crores and is to be extradited to India.

‘Journalists’ and politicians spread lies about RBI Deputy Governor’s resigning following Urjit Patel’s exit

"Journalists" started rumour-mongering about the resignation of RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya soon after Governor Urjit Patel resigned citing personal reasons

When ‘anti-corruption crusader’ met the ‘Raja’ of 2G spectrum scam

Kejriwal, who till now has been religiously snubbed by Congress and its allies, is expected to participate in the meeting for the first time.

Latest articles

Connect with us

125,517FansLike
97,346FollowersFollow
6,057SubscribersSubscribe

Don't miss these