Dear Reader,

One of the paramount roles, nay duties, of journalists is to play out public interest information to enable the citizens to make informed and deliberated choices. This, in turn, demands that the media have access to public information, especially from public institutions, without partisan and motivated fetters. Therefore, hackles were raised, in the past week, when Prasar Bharati (PB), India’s public service broadcaster, red-flagged a ‘copyright violation’ on YouTube by an independent journalist for a seemingly innocuous use of clips of the Prime Minister speaking in Parliament.

This is when PB has the exclusive rights to record footage, the only source of Parliamentary proceedings, resulting in journalists questioning how the use of footage from India’s public broadcaster constituted a misuse of copyright. They argue that this constituted a transgression of the ‘fair usage’ principle and is a veiled attempt to gag independent journalists. MediaNama deep dives into the critical questions that the episode front-lined – specifically the right of access to information for the media which is already available in the public square.

Last week also saw the historic passing of the Women’s Reservation Bill in Parliament reserving one-third of seats for women in legislative bodies with near unanimity. The government though, has stated that the scheduled ‘delimitation’ exercise must be complied with before the provisions of the Bill are unleashed.

Article 14 points out that none of the four previous versions of the bill stipulated the requirement of delimitation. Besides, no such conditions applied to the constitutional amendments that paved the way for the reservation of a third of panchayat seats for women in 1992. Reservations for Jats, Marathas and economically weaker sections in 2016, 2018 and 2019 were passed without a fresh recount of beneficiaries. “There appears, then, no justification, to have a different rule for Indian women, except to secure the immediate future of about 179 male MPs, who risk losing their seats if the law were immediately implemented with no caveats”.

Who benefits when India grows – the poor, the women and the marginalised? The India Forum seeks to decipher the answers to these questions by analysing the data captured by the NSSO Employment Surveys and the more recent Periodic Labour Force Surveys of the Union government. The study points out that while there is a shift towards self-employment among women workers after a growth slowdown following the Pandemic, these numbers can be interpreted as indicating a distress-led participation of women in paid work as well as a reversal of structural change.

And, the Constitutional benches of the Supreme Court of India, courts with five or more judges, are mandated to interpret substantial questions of law as laid down by the Constitution of India. While they have in the past been constituted as and when necessary, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud has announced that the Bench become a “permanent feature”. Supreme Court Observer looks at how this move will impact India's Courts and the Justice system. It expects several critical, high-profile matters such as the constitutionality of the sedition law, and the challenge to the Union’s Ordinance over ‘services’ in the National Capital, will receive focussed, intensive hearings over a predetermined time frame.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Confusion Among YouTube News Channels After Copyright Claims From Prasar Bharati

Doordarshan’s strike down of clips of parliamentary proceedings used by independent journalists on their YouTube channels has raised eyebrows and questions regarding journalists' access to public information. MediaNama deep dives into the issues the episodes raise.

Read Here

The BJP’s Historic Women’s Reservation Bill Is Also A Promise To About 179 Male MPs To Keep Their Seats Safe For Now

Despite being touted as transformative, the recently passed Women’s Reservation Bill, being made contingent upon a delimitation exercise, says Article 14, is a diversion intended to protect the electoral fortunes of male MPs.

Read Here

Growth, Structural Change, and Opportunities: Who has Benefited?

The India Forum parses data to find out the collateral beneficiaries of India’s growth.

Read Here

Constitution Benches to become a “permanent feature” of SC: Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud

Supreme Court Observer looks at the implications of the proposal to make Constitutional benches “permanent”.

Read Here

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