Journalists protest attacks on media, pitch for law on ownership
Scores of journalists today protested against increasing attacks on members of the fraternity and crackdown by government on media organizations, and pressed for stronger initiatives to combat the problem.
Journalists had gathered at a protest meeting organised by the Press Club of India, Indian Women's Press Corps and the Editors Guild in Delhi.
Members of the media fraternity unanimously condemned the alleged attempts to muzzle Rajasthan Patrika, Outlook and scribes from Kerala.
"These attacks come close on the heels of murder of journalists in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh and attempts at banning media in Jammu and Kashmir. These attacks are not restricted to one state or party affiliation either but a selective attack on freedom of press," Saroj Negi from Commonwealth Association of Journalists said.
Noted journalist Vijay Kranti said suppressing the freedom of press is the most "powerful" thing at present.
"Kerala is an example of what is happening in the country...muzzling the press seems to be the most powerful thing at present in various states and lot of places. There is limited scope for a moderate space in which objective journalism can take place," he said.
Advocating political and legal activism, journalists also pitched for a law on media ownership to avoid conflict of interest.
Journalist Jyoti Malhotra said, "We as journalists need stronger political and legal activism irrespective of our political affiliations."
"We need laws on media ownership for sure as conflict of interest itself is an attack on freedom of press. I believe as journalists we too have our shortcomings which need to be worked out in order to deal with this attack-prone situation," Sabina Inderjit, Vice President of Indian Journalistic Union, said.
A group of advocates had allegedly attacked media persons outside the Kerala High Court complex last month leaving two persons injured. The lawyers allegedly hurled abuses and threatened that they would not allow the reporters to cover the court proceedings.
Rajdev Ranjan, a journalist from Siwan, was shot dead in May. Journalists were also attacked in Delhi when proceedings were on in Patiala Court complex during the JNU sedition row.