Justifying his decision to appoint a panel on fixing minimum qualification for journalists, Press Council Chairman Markandey Katju on Friday said the aim was not to "muzzle" the media but to improve the standards as there are a lot of "mediocre" professionals in the field.
"There are a lot of mediocre journalists these days and the quality of journalism has fallen. So we have constituted a committee headed by Council member Shravan Kumar Garg to suggest minimum qualification for journalists in the changed circumstances," the PCI chairman said.
Also, there are several specialisations in journalism and hence a minimum qualification is necessary, Katju said.
Garg said the committee will also look into the quality of various journalism institutes in the country as at present there is "no control" on them.
"The committee will submit its recommendations soon. PCI will study the recommendations and suggest amendments, if any. It will then submit the report to the Government of India, based on which Parliament may pass a law, or reject it," Katju said.
The idea of minimum qualification did not aim to muzzle the media but to improve the standards, he said.
The PCI chief also observed that working conditions of journalists were bad, as were their salaries.
"There is no job security for journalists. As they are being paid poorly, journalists are searching for alternative sources of income," he said.
Shravan Garg said his committee would speak to all the stakeholders before coming up with recommendations. "We will also look into the quality of various journalism institutes in the country. At present there is no control on these institutes," he said.