He hasn’t quite spelt out which colleges we should go to, what subjects and courses we should take, in which language, or what pass-percentage is OK.
At least not yet.
But Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju‘s “order” on “some legal qualification” before one can enter the profession of journalism has been met with near-unanimous ridicule from mediapersons.
In the Hindu, Outlook* chairman Vinod Mehta calls the move “absolute rubbish”:
“Some of the greatest journalists the world has produced have been without university degrees. I am a BA fail and was academically the most undistinguished student in school and college. And I haven’t done too badly.”
NDTV group editor Barkha Dutt, who has journalism degrees from Jamia Milia and Columbia school of journalism:
“The best training is on the field. While I can see the arguments about ‘declining standards and quality in journalists’, I do not believe the answer was in ‘more degrees’. (paraphrased)
Sashi Kumar of the Asian college of journalism:
“Most hard-nosed reporters who do unconventional beats, break scoops and exposes, are in the regional language press. And they are not necessarily MAs or PhDs. This is an ill-considered move and reflects Justice Katju’s ignorance about the field, and strikes at the root of freedom of expression.”
In a letter to the editor of The Hindu, the veteran sports correspondent Partab Ramchand writes:
“It might be relevant to mention that I am a matriculate (second class) and I joined the profession virtually straight from school nearly 45 years ago without any training whatsoever in journalism and with just a knowledge of sports which I followed closely from my school days.
“I never saw the portals of a college and have never felt any regret in this regard.
“I have worked in various leading newspaper groups, heading the sports department on a couple of occasions, have gone on international assignments and am an author of 10 books on cricket. I fully endorse Barkha Dutt’s view that the best training is on the field which is exactly what I went through.”
* Disclosures apply
Infographic: courtesy The Times of India
Also read: ‘I have a poor opinion of most media people’
Editors’ Guild of India takes on Press Council chief
TV news channel editors too blast PCI chief
Has Justice Katju been appointed by Josef Stalin?
Justice Katju ‘sorry’ for calling journos idiots
Best comment is from Mr. Sashi Kumar of the Asian college of journalism. He run college for journalism.
Mark… is having nice time.
Second with Barkha Dutt. Journalism is not in degrees but on streets.
Yes, it should be made mandatory for every journalist to have a degree or diploma in journalism. The whole society looks into every issue printed or shown on media so one journalist must be qualified enough to put the information as per standard. I have seen in local dailies most of the journalists are just HSLC pass ! it is a shame for media that they have unqualified journalist
Mr. Katju is trying to become head of 90% of Indian (as per him 90% of Indians are idiots). And he is working really hard for it….
Markandeya is very right. People without adequate knowledge pontificate without gauging the ramifications of their statement. Just because they got a job and their employer is waiting to fill up the blanks in a paper/ journal, left after advertisement cannot be construed gospel – layman tends to believe so because it has come in print. This is particularly true of vernacular press. A reading will convince that they write “absolute rubbish.” The presswallahs are against Katju’s proposal because many will become jobless overnight, it followed in letter and spirit.
Mr Katju thinks he is still a Supreme Court Judge and can pontificate on any subject of his choice. The media is giving too much space for his utterances. Let him concentrate on the Press Council, of which he is the head and which at present lacks teeth to be a really useful organisation.
I’ve been working for over 2 years as a journalist – have dabbled in print reporting and TV news. And I am a Bachelor of Mass Media grad from Mumbai Univ. There is absolutely no value add in doing a journalism degree especially compared to on field experience. From what I’ve seen, the best journalists are those who come with experience, dedication, hard work and common sense. Most of the aspiring journalists fresh out of college, believe me, are grossly ill-equipped to survive in the real world of journalism which is why there is so much churn.
You cannot teach media to anyone. Media comes from passion and dreams, even if they are shallow, self serving ones.
My greater concern now is for the plaintiffs (or defendants) who suffered at Markandeya Katju’s bizarre opinions and resulting dictates.