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  Objectives  |  History  |  Managing Committee  
   
 

Objectives

 
   
 

The Press Club, Mumbai founded in 1968 in Mumbai City by a group of journalist, seeks toaintain an local association of journalists working in the city of Mumbai to get together, to encourage the highest standards of professional integrity and skill in the reporting of news; to help educate a new generation of journalists; to contribute to the freedom and independence of journalists, and to work toward better communication and understanding among people.

 
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  History  
   
 

The idea of setting up a press club in Mumbai emerged in 1968. Journalists were the lowest-paid white-collar employees in those days, and they had to fight every inch of the way to get thier due. During the course of this struggle, they found that even in smaller cities such as Lucknow, Bhopal and Cochin, journalist unions had press clubs and their own buildings. They decided that they should have one in Bombay.

A joint delegation of the Bombay Union of Journalists (BUJ) and the Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh (MMPS) approached V. P. Naik, the then chief minister of Maharashtra. While the BUJ delegation was headed by the organisation's president, the late K. D. Umrigar, and Madhu Shetye, its general secretary, the Sangh team was led by K. P. Samak, its president.

These journalists made several attempts to get a place for the press club, and they were joined in their efforts by senior journalists such as Shamrao Deshpande, who was later elected president of the BUJ, D. B. Khade, V. K. Naik, the late S. K. Agashe and S. B. Kolpe, who went on to become the president of the IFWJ.

Chief minister Naik was a forward-looking person and he knew journalists from close quarters. He told a group of journalists once that he had been much impressed when he visited the Press Club of Delhi, and that he would help to secure a similar facility for journalists in Mumbai. S. K. Wankhede, the then finance minister of Maharashtra, was another politician who felt that city journalists ought to have a place they could call their own. He too offered us a helping hand

Naik agreed to allot one place to both the press club and the MMPS, not knowing that the two organisations were different entities. He allotted the 'Glass House' premises to us, the BUJ representatives. When the MMPS's Samak asked for a separate place for his organisation, the chief minister allotted the adjoining barrack (where the present MMPS building stands) to the Sangh.

There is some more background to this story. The formation of the state of Maharashtra in 1960 had increased the importance of Marathi-knowing journalists working in English-language media. Marathi had become the administrative language in the state assembly and at Mantralaya, and media managements preferred posting Marathi-knowing journalists to cover events there.

There were many journalists who contributed their mite in getting the Bombay Press Club started. Besides those mentioned earlier, there was A. P. Hudlikar, Hillary Lobo, V. T. Deshpande, K. S. Raman, Chandu Medhekar and V. Venkatesan.

There were other organisations - such as the Press Guild and the Mantralaya Correspondents Association - which wanted the government to help them get their own places, but the chief minister did not favour them. He wanted the press club allotment to be made to a representative organisation of journalists, and he wanted it to be a place where journalists, irrespective of their language, religious persuasion or political affiliations, could meet, mingle and relax.

In 1981 chief minister A. R. Antulay reduced the rent of the Press Club's premises to a token rupee. He also ordered the construction of an adjoining structure (now our conference hall) to temporarily accommodate the MMPS (till its new building was completed). In 1990 chief minister Sharad Pawar gave the Club the land on a lease of 30 years. During chief minister Manohar Joshi's tenure we secured the conference hall, after it was vacated by the MMPS. Securing the land where the Club stands and the conference hall structure was a hard task, and it required plenty of effort on our part.

We had invited India's president, Zail Singh, to lay the foundation stone of our proposed building. But Mantralaya informed us that we could not do so since only the upper structure was the Club's, and that the land had not been transferred to us. We took our case to Pawar, who readily agreed to give us the land.

With regard to the conference hall, the place was ordered to be given to the Maharashtra Sahitya Sanskriti Mandal by minister for culture Pramod Navalkar, not knowing that it was part of the Press Club's premises. I made a strong representation, with supporting documentary evidence, and spent more than six months following it up before chief minister Joshi handed over the building to the Club. We are now in the 33rd year of the Club's existence, but, unfortunately, the building project remains just that - a project rather than reality.

 
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  Managing Committee for the year 2006-08  
   
 
 
       
  President    
  Mr. Pradeep Vijaykar Times of India  
 
  Chairman    
  Mr. Devendra Mohan Business India  
 
  Vice Chairman    
  Mr. Sumant Mishra Navbharat Times  
 
  Hon. Secretary    
  Mr. Gurbir Singh Hindustan Times  
 
  Joint Secretary    
  Ms. Swati Deshpande Times of India  
 
  Treasurer    
  Mr. Rajesh Mascarenhas The Economic Times  
 
  Elected Committee Members    
 
  Mr. Santosh Bane Times of India  
  Mr. Gordon D'Costa Hindustan Times  
  Mr. Edwin Fernandes The Times of India  
  Mr. Ajit Joshi Freelancer  
  Mr. Sunil Tambe Reuters India  
  Mr. Vikas Khot Hindustan Times  
  Mr. Avadhesh Vyas Navbharat Times  
  Mr. Prakash Deshmukh Sakal  
  Mr. Prasad Mokashi Loksatta  
  Mr. Satish Nandgaonkar The Telegraph  
  Nominated Committee Members    
 
  Dr. B C Banik Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd.  
  Mr. B N Kumar Concept PR  
  Mr. I K Jain Bombay Union of Journalist  
 
 
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