Editors Guild of India on Pegasus intrusions against Indian journalists

Editors Guild of India asks for urgent and independent Supreme Court inquiry

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The Pegasus Project illustrative image from thewire.in
The Pegasus Project illustrative image from thewire.in

The simultaneous news reports by seventeen publications including thewire.in and news organizations around the world of the Israeli NSO’s Pegasus software being used by governments and government agencies to hack the cell phones of journalists, politicians, activists and citizens has been followed by more details in subsequent stories. The French president Emanuel Macron is among the global political leaders whose phones were infected by the Pegasus spyware and the French government has already ordered an inquiry.

While the Indian government’s representatives or loyalists have been in complete denial in parliament and on television, opposition leaders have been asking for a discussion in parliament, a Joint Parliamentary Committee investigation and also enquiries under the aegis of the Supreme Court. On 21 July 2021, the Editors Guild of India issued a statement which is given below.

 ‘The Editors Guild of India is shocked by the media reports on the wide spread surveillance, allegedly mounted by government agencies, on journalists, civil society activists, businessmen and politicians, using a hacking software known as Pegasus, created and developed by the Israeli company NSO. The reports, which have been published worldwide over the last few days by a consortium of 17 publications, points towards surveillance by multiple governments across the world. Since NSO claims that it only sells this software to governments clients vetted by the Government of Israel, it deepens suspicion of involvement of Indian government agencies in snooping on it’s own citizens.
While some of the instances of surveillance might have been targeted against those who may be seen as credible national security threat, what is disturbing is that a large [number] of such targets were journalists and civil society activists. This is a brazen and unconstitutional attack on freedom of speech and press. This act of snooping essentially conveys that journalism and political dissent are now equated with ‘terror.’ How can a constitutional democracy survive if governments do not make an effort to protect freedom of speech and allows surveillance with such impunity?
This is a moment that demands deep introspection and inquiry into the kind of society we are heading towards, and how far we may have veered away from the democratic values enshrined in our constitution.
The Guild demands an urgent and independent inquiry into these snooping charges, under the aegis of Supreme Court of India. We also demand that this inquiry committee should include people of impeccable credibility from different walks of life – including journalists and civil society – so that it can independently investigate the facts around the extent and intent of snooping using the services of Pegasus.’
Thanks and regards,
Seema Mustafa, President
Sanjay Kapoor, General Secretary
Anant Nath, Treasurer

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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