The Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) has written to the Prime Minister of India and the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, demanding a judicial inquiry into the various funds, subsidies, loans and financial help made available to the Press Trust of India (PTI) by the Government of India during the past several years.
In the letter, the largest journalist organization has accused the PTI management of misappropriating the Government funds for anti-worker purposes like splitting its plant union, favouring only loyalists and denying employees their legal dues under various statutory wage awards. It said that the Press Trust of India not only received a huge sum of money through various Union Government over the years, it also got a subsidized land to build its office on the fabulous Parliament Street. And all this at the cost of state exchequer and the Indian taxpayer money.
Accusing the news agency to have become a “mine of nepotism”, the Indian Federation of Working Journalists wrote that PTI ran on a professional pattern so long as its management had working journalists like P. Unnikrishnan, N.D. Prabhu and K.P. Srivastava among others. But after the management changed hands and the “nefarious contract system of employment and the rule of supersession started, the news agency became a mine of nepotism”, read the letter.
IFWJ accused the PTI fo being Congress’ mouthpiece
IFWJ also accused the PTI management of always shamelessly turning itself into the mouthpiece of the ruling party, chiefly the Congress party.
PTI’s interview with the ambassador of China raises doubts about its hidden agenda: IFJW
Speaking of the recent interview by the PTI with the ambassador of China, IFWJ wrote that the interview was done at a time when the Chinese Communist Party had virtually declared a state of war through media. The PTI story thus raises doubts about its hidden agenda, read the letter signed by Vipin Dhuliya, the secretary-general of IFWJ.
PTI had come under great criticism recently after an interview with Chinese ambassador Sun Weidong. During the interview, the Chinese ambassador blamed India for the clash between the two countries at Galwan Valley. Journalists of other agencies were outraged by the fact that the PTI did not bother to counter-question the Chinese ambassador on his dubious claims. People have also pointed out that the ‘interview’ came across as a press release by the Chinese Communist Party rather than a genuine interview.
Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ)
For the uninitiated, the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) is the largest journalist organization, with over 30,000 primary and associate members, working for electronic media, news agencies and 1,260 journals of 17 languages in 35 states and Union Territories. It was founded in New Delhi on 28 October 1950.
The letter also spoke of how the independent multilingual news agency, the United News of India (UNI) was being starved of govt aid, which was in stark contrast with what PTI has been receiving over the years. The UNI was left to die slowly. Most of the UNI employees have not been paid full wages for over three to four years. This sad state of discrimination between two national news agencies has only ruined journalistic independence and professional integrity, read the letter.
Prasar Bharti greatly displeased with the ‘anti-national’ reporting by PTI
IT was reported how, Prasar Bharti, India’s largest public broadcasting agency, had expressed deep anguish on the blatant anti-India propaganda, which it called “anti-national’ reporting, by PTI in recent times and was considering withdrawing financial support to the latter over their recent coverage.
PTI has apparently been receiving huge fees from the public broadcaster, the fees are said to be in crores and it has been going on since decades. Reportedly, Prasar Bharti pays PTI over RS. 9 crores annually, which is in addition to the amount paid by PIB. Now, sources tell us that PTI’s ‘anti-national’ reporting makes Prasar Bharti believe that it does not make it feasible to carry forward the said relationship.
Sources also tell us that PTI has been averse towards a review of the same since 2016-17. But in light of PTI’s recent coverage, Prasar Bharti has initiated a review of the relationship between the two. We are told that PTI will be informed of the decision soon.
Past Incidents of Fake News by PTI
There have been numerous occasions in the past when the PTI has peddled fake news, on certain occasions, even on communally charged matters. Earlier in April, PTI had claimed that one Mehboob Ali was lynched on suspicions of being infected with the coronavirus. However, later it turned out that he was alive.
The PTI has spread fake news on matters of politics as well. Prior to the Delhi Elections in February, PTI had claimed that only 25% of AAP candidates had serious criminal cases against them. But in reality, the number was upwards of 50%.