Pune Union of Working Journalists (PUWJ) - a Journalists’ body - popularly known as Pune Patrakar Sangh, came into being on December 17, 1941. Veteran journalists of that time - J.S.Karandikar (then Editor of Kesari), Acharya S.D.Javadekar (then Editor of Lokshakti), K.G. alias Kakasaheb Limaye (Editor of Dnyanprakash), D.V.Gokhale - among others contributed in the formation of PUJW.
It was a pre-independence era when newspapers were fighting against British government policies of suppressing the freedom of speech. At the same time newspapers were playing a major role in the freedom struggle.
In 1950, Indian Federation of Working Journalists was formed at central level with an objective to safeguard interests of journalists. Under the leadership of M.V.Sane, PUJW played a key role in the formation of Federation. The PUJW relentlessly took up issues pertaining to journalists’ rights. It led all the agitations of newspapers employees since then.
In 1978, PUJW made necessary changes in its constitution only to acquire status of Registered Trade Union. The trade union tag made it necessary for PUJW to maintain a modified Marathi name – Pune Shramik Patrakar Sangh.
It now remains the only official union representing Journalists from Pune. The PUJW currently has around 450 members and the number is growing.
Although PUWJ continues to work as a powerful union, it is equally devoted to the cause of enhancing the standards of journalists and journalism. The PUWJ considers journalism as a noble profession that stands for upholding the rights and freedom of people in our democratic system. Keeping that motive in mind, PUWJ has always worked with high responsibility.
Every year PUWJ organizes various programs to enhance and empower its members through specialized training courses on specific subjects and workshops. Specially organized lectures from experts from various fields including defense, archaeology, computer technology, education system, meteorology and annual budget often provide fresh perspectives to PUJW members.
In 1979, PUWJ started a certificate course in collaboration with Pune University for aspiring journalists mostly from rural or lower middle class strata of the society. Soon the course became popular and was eventually upgraded into a diploma course. More than 2000 students have benefited from this course and many of them have risen to the rank of Editor in leading Marathi newspapers.
For the benefit of members, PUWJ implements schemes like legal aid, medi-claim and organizes health-check up camps regularly. Whenever there were incidents of untimely deaths or major accident involving PUWJ members, the journalists body never shied away from its responsibility in providing monetary help to members or their families.
In order to expand PUJW’s functioning, a registered trust Pune Patrakar Pratishthan was formed in 1991. The Pune Patrakar Pratishthan acted as catalyst so that in ensuring that PUWJ gets its own building - Patrakar Bhavan. Currently Patrakar Bhavan houses offices of PUWJ & Pune Patrakar Pratishthan, an air conditioned soundproof auditorium, a Press conference hall and an outstanding library with a study room. The PUWJ provides a unique news distribution service, which facilitates functioning of all news centres as well as media organizations.
The PUWJ has been spearheading the campaign against assaults on journalists. PUJW’s relentless efforts have forced Maharashtra government to look into demand for a new Act on the safety of journalists.
PUWJ as a union and as an academic organization has achieved many milestones and is sure to cross many more in years to come.