Make Attacks On Mediapersons Non-Bailable, Bring Ordinance, Says Media

Journalists belonging to different sections of media in Mumbai on Saturday brought out a procession at Hutatma Chowk and later submitted a memorandum to Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan demanding that an ordinance be brought
make attacks on mediapersons non bailable bring...
PTI November 21, 2009 19:52 IST

Journalists belonging to different sections of media in Mumbai on Saturday brought out a procession at Hutatma Chowk and later submitted a memorandum to Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan demanding that an ordinance be brought to protect journalists from attacks carried out by vested interests, including political parties. 

Chavan later told mediamen that a request has been made to make attacks on mediapersons a non-bailable offence. The chief minister has called a meeting of the state-level committee early next week to go through the memorandum. 

“Let me assure you that we will not tolerate attacks on the media”, Chavan said emphatically. He said the probe into Friday's attacks by Shiv Sena activists on IBN Lokmat channel in Mumbai and Pune has started and several activists have been arrested.

Chavan also assured that the ringleaders and masterminds behind such attacks on media would also not be spared.  

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray has frontpaged Friday's attacks in his party organ Saamna, wherein he has named the seven activists who carried out the attack on IBN Lokmat office in Mumbai. The names are: Vishal Mourya, Shailesh Shakpal, Ashwin Davekar, Pravin Rajput, Sunil More, Kishore Witkar, and Swapnil Kini. 

In his editorial, Bal Thackeray has lambasted the media describing it as ‘Goebbels' father' and used the word ‘makkar'(dishonest). 

Thackeray's confrontation with the media is reminiscent of a similar situation that occurred in Uttar Pradesh during the Nineties, when the then chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav had started a ‘Halla Bol' agitation against the media. He had to withdraw the agitation later under peer pressure.

Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut's brother Sunil Raut has been named as the prime accused by the police in the attack on the office of IBN-Lokmat Marathi news channel. 

"Sunil Raut has been named as a wanted accused in the complaint. He is the prime accused who allegedly instigated the mob to vandalise the office premises of the channel yesterday," Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Rajkumar Vartak told PTI. 

Sunil Raut had lost the state assembly elections held in October 13 from the suburban Bhandup assembly segment.

Apart from the 17 Shiv Sainiks arrested, police is also verifying the names of seven more party workers who were present at the time of the attack, Vartak said.

Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir on Saturday strongly condemned the incident, saying these incidents receive overt and covert political patronage.

"The attack on the office of a media organisation and media-persons is shocking and shameful. This is the third major incident of attack on media in last 18 months. What is alarming is the overt and covert political patronage these incidents of vandalism receive from political parties and individuals," Jamir said.

"Maharashtra is one of the most progressive states in the country and such incidents do a great harm to the fair image of the state and that of its people," he said. 

While it is necessary to punish the perpetrators of violence, it is equally imperative to punish and expose those who incite and justify such uncivilised action, Jamir said.

 "The media also needs to observe due restraint and remain objective while presenting news and opinions," he added. 

"While condemning the attack on the media house and channel editor Nikhil Wagle in strongest words, I am asking the state government to take exemplary steps to stop such attacks on media and media-persons in the future," a Raj Bhawan spokesperson quoted Jamir as saying.

Meanwhile, a Mumbai court on Friday remanded all the 17 Shiv Sena members, arrested for attacking the IBN-Lokmat Marathi news channel office, to police custody till November 23. 

The 17 were produced before the Vikhroli metropolitan magistrate, which remanded them to two day police custody.

All the accused have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including attempt to murder, outraging the modesty of women and assault.

The police had sought the custody of the arrested accused in order to investigate under whose behest they were acting and who had instigated the attack.

The police has named Sunil Raut, brother of Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut as a wanted and prime accused in the case.

 

 
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