New Delhi: Suggesting that absence of a proper eligibility criterion was affecting the quality of reportage in the country, Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Justice (retd) Markandey Katju has set up committee to recommend minimum qualification required to become a journalist.
The committee comprises PCI members Shravan Garg, Rajeev Sabade and Dr Ujjwala Barve, Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Pune.
In a statement issued here, the PCI chairperson said that for some time the need for a qualification for entry into the profession of journalism had been felt.
"In the lawyers profession an LLB Degree as well as registration in a Bar Council is required. Similarly, for entry into the medical profession the necessary qualification is an MBBS Degree and also registration with the Medical Council," Katju said.
He added that for becoming a teacher, a teacher’s training certificate or degree is required so was the case with other professions. Katju said that however at present there is no qualification for entry into the profession of journalism.
"Hence very often persons with little or inadequate training in journalism enter the profession, and this often leads to negative effects, because such untrained persons often do not maintain high standards of journalism," he said.
For quite some time, therefore, it has been felt that there must be some legal qualification before one can enter the profession of journalism, Katju said.
He said the media has an important influence on the lives of the people and the time has now come when some qualification should be prescribed by law.
Katju said that the team appointed by him will consider all aspects and submit a report at an early date suggesting the qualifications a person should have before he can be allowed to enter the profession of journalism.
"On receipt of the report I intend to place it before the Full Press council, and after getting its approval shall forward it to the Government for initiating suitable legislation for this purpose," Katju said.
The Central and all State Governments and journalism departments and institutes in the country have been requested to extend cooperation to the team, Katju said.
There are no doubt many institutions which impart teaching in journalism (some of which is very unsatisfactory) but there is as yet no legal requirement for having any qualification before entering the profession, he added.