Letter: What Is the Role of the Editors Guild of India?

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO
Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

Letter: What Is the Role of the Editors Guild of India?

I have sent the following letter to the Editors Guild of India (EGI).

To

Ms Seema Mustafa, President
Mr Sanjay Kapoor, General Secretary
Mr Ananth Nath, Treasurer
Editors Guild of India (EGI)
New Delhi

July 13, 2021

Dear Officers,

I am a journalist and founder of the humanitarian organization RMN Foundation. I have been observing the work of the Editors Guild of India (EGI) and have interacted with you in the past to highlight the growing attacks on press freedom in India. 

While I am also a victim of these attacks, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India have been trying to protect me from persecution and threats that I have been facing for my editorial work.

During my struggle to protect my editorial rights, I have experienced that the EGI exists only as a toothless outfit which has repeatedly failed to protect the journalists from state repression. You – as the officers of EGI – are only issuing some copy-paste statements when journalists are attacked or incarcerated, and your statements are simply ignored by the authoritarian rulers who are supposed to follow them.

In 2021 alone, the EGI has issued more than 20 shallow condemnation statements which had no impact on the authorities who perpetrate attacks on journalists and their work. I strongly believe that the EGI has not done any impact analysis of its meaningless statements as the press freedom in India continues to be under severe onslaught from the government.

Unfortunately, EGI could never get the frivolous court petitions against journalists canceled and it could never get wrongfully detained journalists released from jails. In other words, EGI has no role in protecting press freedom in India.

As the Indian government is making new laws to further stifle the voice of journalists and media outlets – particularly the new-media, digital properties – EGI is sitting idly instead of coming on the roads to oppose the draconian laws. With its ineffective performance, EGI has become a part of the growing network of fake organizations which falsely claim that they work to safeguard the rights of journalists. 

In fact, today there is no organization in the world that is working effectively to protect journalists from state excesses and police brutality. Although UNESCO and other UN agencies also keep releasing loose statements and random reports about media freedom, they too have failed miserably to protect journalists in different countries.

Similarly, the organizations – such as RSF, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, associations of journalists, etc. – that claim to be working for press freedom and protection of journalists operate only as secondary news outlets.

They lift news from here and there about attacks on journalists and simply publish it under their own banners on their websites along with some customary condemnation statements. They cannot influence and change the brutal decisions of the authorities that are unleashing terror on journalists. The EGI also belongs to this category of redundant entities. 

In this backdrop, I expect EGI to realize that it does not have any reason to exist as a mere clerical setup to mechanically issue random statements about media freedom. If EGI cannot protect journalists and influence the decisions of the despotic regime, it must shutter its operations. The sooner the better. 

Contact

Rakesh Raman
Editor, RMN News Service [ Website ]
Founder, RMN Foundation [ Website ]
463, DPS Apts., Plot No. 16, Sector 4
Dwarka, Phase I, New Delhi 110 078, India
Mobile: 9810319059 | Contact by Email

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Rakesh Raman