A woman has been elected as the state president of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists (KUWJ) for the first time in its history of over 60 years. Vineetha MV was elected to the post after a fiercely fought election, with a margin of 78 votes. The 36-year-old is working as a senior reporter at the Thrissur unit of the Veekshanam daily, the mouthpiece of the Congress in the state.
The elections to the state committee and the 13 district committees of the KUWJ were held on May 21, Saturday. The results of the district committees were announced on the same day while the counting of votes for the state committee was held on Saturday, May 28, as that is the practice. The counting was done in Thiruvananthapuram.
Vineetha defeated Suryadas MP, who works at the Kozhikode unit of the Mathrubhumi daily. Vineetha won 1,515 votes against the 1,437 votes that Suryadas secured. Forty nine votes were considered invalid. R Kiran Babu of News 18 Malayalam channel has been elected as general secretary by a margin of 361 votes.
Vineetha had been elected as the vice president of the Thrissur district committee of the KUWJ for the period between 2015 and 2017. She was elected to the post of secretary of the Thrissur district committee for the 2017-19 period and elected unanimously as secretary in 2019. The KUWJ elections are held once every two years.
Vineetha told TNM that her priority will be to strengthen the union to address job-related issues that journalists currently face. "There is no panacea for the crisis that journalists face. These include laying off, and the lack of job security as most organisations have opted for jobs on a contract basis, and there are no proper benefits for journalists. This is similar in both big and small organisations," she said. She added that her priority will also be to make work environments women-friendly.
Anupama (left) and Radhika
Two women have also been elected as district office-bearers of the union. Anupama G Nair has been unanimously elected as the secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram district committee. This is the first time that a woman has become the secretary of the Thiruvananthapuram district committee. Anupama is a senior cameraperson with Kairali News. In Thrissur Radhika O, a senior sub-editor with the Mathrubhumi daily has been elected as president. This is the first time in the history of the union that a woman became president of a KUWJ district committee.
The KUWJ is the largest journalists' organisation in Kerala. All the 14 press clubs in the state, except the one in Thiruvananthapuram, function under the district committees of the KUWJ. Two opposing panels contest the election by fielding journalists working in various media organisations. Journalists can contest the election independently too.
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