May a good source be with you.

Accreditation- Anything But An Empty Privilege

If not important, the accreditation would not be attacked.

The term refers to journalists, who, after logging in some years and some articles and demonstrating some writing, camera-work or sound, over five years at least, are ‘recognised’ as being journalists. This is not the award of a degree or a certification, but it is the recognition of persons being or purveyors of information, mediating, pressing, on issues of public interest and concern.

There are all types who make it to accreditation. Odiya, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Malayalam dailies, weeklies, papers of shapes and sizes. Many of us learnt of the Hitavad, Prajavaani, Nagpur Times, Siasat, Madhyamam and their high role in shaping opinion, getting the news out, day in and day out, in the days of the difficult and noisy typewriter and telex. Camerapersons too, before video made it easier to be lazy and record a whole section – to wait in anticipation and click the moment and develop it the same day and rush it back to head office.

Accreditation means access to government offices, where policy is meant to be made. It is earned after there are elaborate checks by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Home affairs too. It sometimes involves some health insurance, house allotments too, and an ability to accompany Ministers, Prime Ministers in the past as you are a recognised entity.

For thousands of persons who made it to journalism and a seat in their respective New Delhi bureaus, it was the only way they could access the formidable ‘Blocks’, North and South, and Parliament, witness debates and carve out stories from mundane goings-on, announcements, gazettes and file-notings; stories which would have a great bearing on the lives of their readers.

The accredited would not have an education in Delhi often, connections, contacts, the right accent to break into the power elite and even the bureaucracy. But the accreditation gave them that.

The accreditation, now being seen as a privilege, is anything but that. It involves the clearing via Committees but it is anything but a bestowal of favours by a regime.

The web-newsmen and women are doing a stellar job and maybe the new vanguards of irreverent and provocative journalism. But, without the bread and butter of the daily grind, the reporting of the daily news – still a significant if not substantial routine of being an accredited journalist, the reporting of the sensational and the wonderful scoop may not even be understood by its readers.

So, to minimise the threat to “suspend” the accredited Journalist to purely the snatching of privilege is to fall into the trap the Ministry of Silence intended to make this about.

If not important, the accreditation would not be attacked.

The BJP assault on reason was via social media, false news, whipping up of fire and fury not touched by the compulsions of being accredited.

So to hit out at them now is only the completion of the project. They have been pushed back by the blowback the proposal got.

But, accredited or not, Journalists should brace for more.

Miss Chamko sings, reads and writes occasionally; is concerned about the political environment, and the armaments race. Is passionately fond of Cats and Operas. Played Squash once with Jahangir Khan. 

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