An author, journalist, broadcaster and telecaster for 45 years, K. Vikram Rao edits newspersons' monthly the Working Journalist, and is a columnist on current affairs for some 215 English, Hindi, Telugu and Urdu dailies. He also worked as the correspondent of the Voice of America, Washington, DC, in its south Asian bureau (Hindi service). He has been with the Times of India from 1962 till 1998.
Vikram is a member of the present statutory Justice Majithia wage board for journalists, set up by the Manmohan Singh government. He was a member for five years of the Central Press Accreditation Committee (PIB), Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and also a member of the statutory Press Council of India for six years till 1991.
Born in New Delhi and educated at Gandhiji's Sewagram, Chennai, Bapatla (A.P.), Nagpur and Patna, Vikram graduated with sociology, English and Sanskrit literatures. He took master's degree in political science from Lucknow University and taught international relations to postgraduate students. He was selected for the Indian Police Service (IPS), but he preferred to join the Times of India in Mumbai as a reporter, and has been posted to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Nagpur, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Goa, Shillong, Guwahati and Bhubaneswar. He had also worked for the Economic Times and the Filmfare. His news dispatches were often debated in various State legislatures and Parliament. His coverage of communal riots in Moradabad, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad was noted for its accuracy and objectivity. His in-depth surveys of drought-prone north Gujarat and southern Uttar Pradesh attracted worldwide help to save many lives. He also writes in Hindi. His mother tongue is Telugu and he knows Gujarati, Urdu and Marathi. He lectures on reporting at the institutes of mass communication in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kochi (Kerala), Bhopal, Kolkata and Bangalore.
As a member of the Press Council's investigative team, (led by editor B.G. Verghese), Vikram extensively toured Kashmir and Punjab in 1991 and prepared three voluminous reports on Media and Terrorism which were internationally studied, particularly by the European Parliament and the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. On a similar probing mission for the Press Council, he investigated print media's role in the Ayodhya temple controversy.
Vikram was a national council member of the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) in 1978. A crusader for press freedom, Vikram was jailed in 1976 for 13 months when, as IFWJ vice-president, he opposed press censorship and the Emergency. Because of his relentless struggle for economic betterment through the wage boards, hundreds of journalists got higher wages in recent years. He sent over 950 Indian journalists for international training and interactive visits to Europe and the U.S.A.
Vikram was re-elected in 2010 for three years as 12th president of the Indian Federation of Working Journalists (I.F.W.J.), the nation's oldest and largest journalist body of 30,000 members, employed by over 1,260 journals, news agencies and TV network in 29 states and Union Territories, His predecessors included M. Chalapathi Rau (Lucknow), Pandit Banarasidas Chaturvedi (U.P.), Adhir C. Banerjee (Kolkata) and Pothan Joseph (Bangalore). Vikram was elected chairman of the Confederation of Asian Journalist Unions at its Colombo conference.
A widely travelled journalist, Vikram visited the United States, Russia, Britain, Japan,Greece, the Philippines, Cuba, Italy, Canada, Egypt, Korea, Cyprus, Ecuador, Jordan, Germany, China, Zimbabwe, Latvia, Denmark Mauritius, UAE and 23 other countries. He attended media meetings in Brussels, Paris, Bangkok, Damascus, Prague, Baghdad, Warsaw, the Hague, Vienna, Lima, Colombo, Geneva, Singapore, Budapest, Karachi, Nairobi, Hong Kong and Dhaka.
His father late K. Rama Rao was a member of first Parliament and founder-editor of Jawaharlal Nehru's daily National Herald at Lucknow in 1938, and was jailed by the British in 1942. Vikram's uncle late K. Punnaiah was eminent editor of Karachi's nationalist daily the Sind Observer and a founder-member of the All-India Newspaper Editors' Conference.
A teetotaller, non-smoker and vegetarian, Vikram is a familyman. His wife, a graduate from New Delhi's Lady Hardinge Medical College, was the Chief Medical Director with the Indian Railways. They have two sons and a daughter.