What are the Indian Women’s Press Corps and the Foreign Correspondents Club, which received eviction notices from the Center?

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The Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) and the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) have been asked to leave the offices assigned to them by the government. The Corps is India’s first association of female journalists and the FCC was founded in 1958 by foreign scribes stationed in the country.

The IWPC is India’s first association of women journalists, founded in 1994 by 18 women journalists. It is a group that ensures that women scribes are heard and recognized for their work. Image Courtesy: @iwpcdelhi/Twitter

The Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) and the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) have been requested to vacate their assigned bungalows in New Delhi by July 31.

The Union government, which gave them the eviction notice, recently extended the bungalows allocated to their offices by three months even as their lease ends.

IWPC’s application for an office extension at 5 Windsor Place on Ashoka Road in Lutyens Delhi has been approved by Hari MP, the Deputy Director of Estates, who reports to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. In a letter dated May 4, he asked the IWPC to “find suitable accommodation” and “vacate said house no later than July 31, 2022.”

What is the IWPC?

The IWPC is India’s premier association of women journalists.

Based at 5 Windsor Place, it was founded in 1994 by 18 female journalists who, after working for more than a decade in newsrooms, realized the critical need for a support group for female scribes in a male dominated profession. The 18 journalists banded together at Rs 1,000 each and set up a trust and support group to ensure women are heard and recognized for their work.

Then-Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao became interested in having the bungalow assigned to the IWPC and asked his press adviser PVRK Prasad to coordinate the details, reports The Indian Express.

The Corps started as a small group, but today 800 women journalists are members of the IPWC who use it to “build networks, access sources of information, improve their skills, exchange information, discuss issues, voice concerns, interact with peers and seniors, share experiences and find support to advance in the profession,” according to the IPWC website. His office has a computer station, a library and corners for TV reporters to facilitate their work.

The mission of the press organ is to give women journalists a place of their own. It aims to “advance the impact of women in media by being a resource for members and the industry”, “create positive change for women journalists” and build “a strong media network by making voices and women’s signatures more visible”. indicates the IPWC website.

Besides the work front, the Corps ensured confidentiality for female journalists and helped forge friendships. It is a safe space where women often accompany their children when trying to balance work and home.

What is the FCC?

The South Asian Foreign Correspondents Club has also received a similar notice regarding its offices at Bungalow No AB-19 on Mathura Road in New Delhi. The notice sent to the Chairman of the FCC was flagged at the Department of Information and Broadcasting.

The FCC was founded in 1958 by foreign correspondents from Asia working in India to cover the country. Today the group comprises over 500 journalists and photographers covering India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Afghanistan and Tibet.

The Press Club has been assigned the Mathura Road office since 1990.

While the club was started by foreign correspondents or those working for news organizations outside the region, it welcomes journalists from local newspapers, magazines and television. It also admits diplomats, lawyers and those who deal with nongovernmental and corporate media, according to the FCC’s website.

How did IWPC and FCC members react?

Shobhna Jain, President of IWPC, said The footprint that the Corps can now stay at 5 Windsor Place until July “with legitimacy”.

She said the letter was not an “eviction notice”, adding that it was the “standard format of communication” regarding matters relating to government-owned premises.

“It’s a routine procedural thing. We have been granted an extension. The letter indicates that the government has approved in principle the renewal of the lease for three months. We are in contact with the authorities. We will ask them to do this (lease renewal) for a longer period. For the past 25 years, we’ve gotten these lease renewals,” Jain said, according to The Indian Express.

Jain said the lease was last renewed in 2018 for three years and the Corps hoped that again this year the lease would be extended for a longer period.

FCC Chairman Munish Gupta said, “We have not received any such letter or information to date.”

With contributions from agencies

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