The South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA), the SAARC-recognised body of journalists, on Thursday announced the formation of a Press Commission for India.
The body, which is charged with the task of protecting free flow of information and promoting cooperation in the region in an atmosphere of tolerance and trust, will be part of the apex organisation comprising media representatives in the South Asia region.
The Commission will be headed by editor-in-chief of The Hindu N Ram and includes about two dozen other prominent media personalities.
Among other things, the Commission will identify laws and regulations in different countries in the region that circumvent the right to freedom of opinion, look into the performance and role of both state and private media on matters like promotion of mutual trust and understanding and monitor cases of atrocities on journalists in discharge of their duty.
In fact, a meeting of the India Chapter of SAFMA, where the establishment of the Press Commission was announced, released the report of the Media Monitor that details cases of atrocities on journalists.
In a press release, KK Katyal, Safma president, said that the idea of a Commission was mooted during the King-imposed emergency in Nepal when SAFMA affirmed solidarity with the journalists there.
The King’s representative, at the SAARC meeting in Dhaka last year, sought derecognition of SAFMA because of its alleged "interference" in the internal affairs of a member country. It was then decided to entrust the job of monitoring media trends to a separate body.