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British MPs exchange notes with CJA, India

By CJA India team

The Indian media, growing at 12% annually, is estimated to grow for the next 15 years or so, before reaching a plateau. The newspaper circulation of 78.8 million consists almost entirely of copies sold, even as more and more people access media on the Internet.

While there are problems galore, it has dodged the job crunch that has hit much of media in the democratic world, a delegation of eight Hon. Members of British Parliament visiting India was informed at a luncheon meeting on April 2, 2013.

Meeting the MPs at the residence of the Hon. British High Commissioner to India was a team of the Commonwealth Journalists Association, India Chapter, that along with some other Indian journalists provided an overview of the Indian media, the way it functions and the challenges before it.

The MPs expressed deep interest in not just the media, but also the way the electronic voting machines (EVMs) record the working of the world’s largest democracy in election after election.

Some were keen to know how and why Indiavoted against Sri Lanka in the recent debate at the United Nations in Geneva, or the impact of developments in China, Pakistan and Bangladesh on the Indian situation.

Returning to India after six years, Hon. Alun Cairns, Conservative MP from Vale of Glamorgan Bro Morgannwg and Leader of the Delegation, said he was pleasantly surprised at the ‘change’ on New Delhi’s roads in the shape of a variety of automobiles. The site of the Ambassador, the grandchild of the British Morris, made him nostalgic.

The MPs, some of them familiar names like Baroness Sheila Fletcher, Seema Malholtra MP (Lab), Lord Rana MBE (CB), evinced keen interest in issues like reservation for women in Indian legislatures, the party politics and the election to 16th Lok Sabha due next year.

The interest in Indian women’s affairs was natural considering that the delegation had five women MPs. They included the Baroness Gale of Blaenrhondda, a life peer, Hon. Diana Johnson, the Labour MP from Hull North and Hon. Mary McLeod (Conservative).

The CJA members wanted to know details of the Leveson Inquiry Report and if self-regulation by the British media had worked.

Hon. Macleod was interested in discussing India’s poverty alleviation programme and compared it with British welfare measures.

Hon.Malhotrta, Hon. McLeod, as well as Cairns were also keen to learn about Bihar, a state which they were visiting. Hon. Cairns also discussed the Indian federal structure and how Britain could learn from it now that it is trying to `federalise’ with governments for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The CJA team comprised Mahendra Ved, Vice President and Chair, India Chapter, Ms Bharati Sinha, Vijay Naik and Jayanta Roy Chowdhury, Vice President and General Secretary respectively of the India Chapter.

The CPA-CJA meeting was hosted by Hon. James Bevan CMG at his residence. Mr Julian Evans, British Deputy High Commissioner, welcomed the guests.




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