In a strong statement, the Editors Guild of India has said that Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Manish Tewari's suggestion that journalists should be tested and 'licensed' is a 'recipe for total state control of the media'.
Licensing, it added, was an 'obviously undemocratic practice' that had been condemned by international human rights organisations. Requirements such as 'membership of a particular organisation, specific qualifications and licenses' were tools used by 'totalitarian states to control the media'.
The umbrella body of editors called Mr. Tewari's idea the 'violation of the very concept of freedom', as 'reporting of facts and expression of ideas is the right of every citizen'. Pointing to the fact that the media dealt with a range of issues, there was 'no fixed or identifiable collection of works or coherent body of knowledge on which journalists could be tested'.
The Guild said that even if it were possible to enforce it, 'in this age of citizen journalists, bloggers and social media and internet users', it would be 'ridiculous' to introduce restrictions on who could practice journalism.