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Gommateshwara Bhagawan Sri Bahubali Swamy Mahamastakabhisheka Mahotsava - 2006



IFWJ President K Vikram Rao and Secretary General Parmanand Pande felicitating HH Jagadguru Karmayogi Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji on the occasion of the 62nd National Convention of IFWJ at Panchakalyana Mantap in Shravanabelagola on Wednesday. KUWJ Hassan District President Shivananda Tagadur, Housing Minister D T Jayakumar, Shravanabelagola MLA C S Putte Gowda and Karnataka Information Commissioner KVR Tagore look on.

Shravanabelagola, Feb 22: Mass Media today is at cross roads in the country and so are journalists. Caught in the spiraling web of electronic and online journalism, working in the media has become more glamorous and thereby a lot more shallow, owing to increasing competition and race for breaking news, HH Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji, Pontiff of Digambar Jain Mutt and Head of Shravanabelagola Institutions lamented here on Wednesday.
Addressing the delegates at the 62nd National Convention of Indian Federation of Working Journalists (IFWJ) the Swamiji said conventional journalism, where the printed the word was truth personified, has suffered a dent.  With the TV channels and print media jostling each other for space and advertisement revenue, job security for professional journalists has decreased. Contract system has come into existence and so has the hire and fire syndrome. On the flip side, lack of proper training and acclimatization, has resulted in erosion of values and professional ethics, he added.
Expressing confidence that the convention will address all these issues, the Swamiji said world has become a lot smaller owing to the communication revolution brought in by the strides achieved by science. "I am sure that all your demands will be met with the blessings of Bhagawan Bahubali and it is my desire that IFWJ convention should become a regular part of Mahamasthakabhisheka and hence, I hope to see you all here again in 2018," he said.
The Swamiji said non-violence and renunciation, enshrined in the life of Bhagawan Bahubali, is the only way to attaining lasting peace and happiness for the mankind. Humanity can ignore these lofty values only to its peril. The interest and attention the first Mahamasthakabhisheka of the new millennium drew from journalists and media from all over the world is an ample testimony to the renewed global interest in these hallowed ideals, he added.
More than 350 international journalists from 21 different nations covered the celebrations from January 22 to February 19, 2006. In all 2,500 journalists, representing more than 50 languages, descended on Shravanabelagola during the Mahamasthakabhisheka celebrations, covered live by Five TV channels. What drew the media attention toward the celebrations was not the mere spectacle of Mahamasthakabhisheka, but the message of non-violence and universal brotherhood it enshrined, he added.
"I will use the pristine water of River Ganga from Gangotri presented by journalists from Uttaranchal today for the special Mahamasthakabhisheka for journalists scheduled for Feb 23," he declared.
IFWJ President K Vikram Rao voiced his deep concern at the incompetence of the Dr.Manmohan Singh government in not setting up a new wage board for journalists even though the price index and inflation figures have changed dramatically over the decade. "We demand a living wage for journalists," he declared.
Turning his attention to the Press Council of India, Rao said the Council was dead, and consequently the media has become a victim of yellow journalism and blackmailing. "We have to evolve a code of conduct for ourselves and a National Media Council, comprising even the representatives of the electronic media should be established, replaced the dead Press Council of India. This is the only way we can put an end to irresponsibility of the electronic media," he said.
On the price war launched by the monopoly English newspapers, selling newspapers at throw away prices, Rao said this unholy war between giant English language newspapers was killing language publications and adversely affecting small  and medium newspapers. "If it continues this way, Indian democracy will be killed and the board of directors of monopoly press and not the electorate will decide who will be the PMs and CMs of this country. We demand the Union Government to fix a page-price ratio in order to stem such unfair trade practices," he urged.
Karnataka Housing Minister D T Jayakumar, inaugurated the convention standing in for Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy. In a speech read out by Jayakumar, Kumaraswamy said his Government was duty bound to protect the freedom of speech and expression and hence, the interests of the media and media persons. However, he expressed concern at irresponsibility reporting in some segments of the electronic media and stressed the need for all segments of the media to report fair. A good relationship between all the four wings, executive, legislature, judiciary and the press was necessary for protection of democratic polity, he added.
IFWJ Secretary General Parmanand Pande stressed the need for bringing the electronic media under the ambit of Working Journalists' Act and the re-visiting the Act itself as, its current form, it has become irrelevant, Karnataka Information Commissioner KVR Tagore said negatives have started creeping into the institution of Journalism with some scribes and media-houses forgetting that it was their duty to keep the democracy flag of the country flying high. Urging publications to be sensitive to the feelings of the common man, he said ghastly jarring images and obscene pictures must be avoided.
Pointing out that poverty anywhere endangers prosperity everywhere; he said it was up to the media to ensure that it makes a fair presentation of the facts with a positive take on events. Further, in the rapid commercialization of the media, it was also important to fight right balance between information and entertainment. Media should also revisit its morality and ethics; he said and added these measures were necessary if democracy was to remain intact.
KUWJ President V Venkatesh urged the State Government to provide bus passes to all journalists, increase the pension for retd.Journalists, and provide sites or plots to genuine journalists in different parts of the State.
Karnataka Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) Hassan unit president Shivananda Tagadur, IFWJ Vice President Arjun Dev, MMC06 Working President A.R. Nirmal Kumar, Sakleshpur MLA H M Vishwanath and Shravanabelagola MLA C S PutteGowda also spoke. Sri Lankan Journalists Association President Karyakaran lead a 42-member Sri Lankan delegation at the Convention.


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