After attacks on journalists increase, protection of journalists’ law demanded

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The state government had promised to bring a legislation to protect journalists in 2005 but it still remains on paper.

journalistThere has been a rise in the number of attacks on journalists across the nation. Last month three scribes were assaulted in Uttar Pradesh raising questions about their security. In a shocking incident, a Mumbai-based journalist identified as Raghavendra Dubey was found in a pool of blood early on Friday hours after he covered a police raid on a bar in Mumbai. He died while he was taken to hospital. Earlier many journalists have been attacked in Maharashtra too raising questions about their security. The Press Council of India has demanded the enactment of a law to make attack on journalists a cognisable offence. The Opposition has also supported the demand for law to protect journalists.

Often journalists association has come forward to protest against the attack on scribes. The state government had promised to bring a legislation to protect journalists in 2005 but it still remains on paper. Journalists are increasingly facing violent attacks by those representing powerful vested interests, local goons and underworld dons. The freedom of press and security of journalists in the state also comes under the scanner following such incidents.

Leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil had a discussion with the senior police officials about the journalist attack incidents occurred at Mira Road and Santacruz. He spoke with Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria about the Santacruz journalist attack case.

“The police must take strict action against the accused responsible for journalist attacks at Mira Road and Santacruz” said Patil.

“Of late there has been a rise in attacks against journalists. Media is known as the fourth pillar of democracy. The government must frame strict laws to curb attacks on journalists” said Ritesh Shah a Kandivali resident.

“Why has the Maharashtra government failed to take action against accused responsible for journalist attacks? Journalists must feel secure while discharging their duties” said Ashok Wadekar a Borivali resident.

According to reports Dubey was called to Mira Road police station as they wanted his help to trace a journalist who was beaten during a bar raid by owners for taking pictures.

Police said Dubey was in the police station till wee hours. He was found in an injured state 500 meters from the bar. A case has been registered against unknown assailants.

The two reporters were injured grievously and six bar employees suspected to have carried out the attack were detained.

Journalists Santosh Mishra and Shashi Sharma went to cover a police raid at White House orchestra bar in Mira Road (East) during which 14 dancing girls were rescued and a few employees taken into custody around 1 am on Friday.

After they left, the journalists were chased and brutally beaten up by bar employees, police said. A photojournalist who clicked pictures of the raid managed to escape.

“They charged at us armed with bamboo sticks and bottles. We ran from the bar to save ourselves. Mishra ran towards Kashimira while Sharma ran in the opposite direction,” the photojournalist said.

He said he spotted a beat chowky barely 100 metres from the bar. “I ran into the chowky and locked the doors from inside,” he said.

“We have detained Ganesh Kamat, Manager Sharad Shetty, Dinesh Shetty, waiter Mukesh, Kamat’s driver and seven others in this connection. We are verifying whether Dubey’s death is linked with the same incident,” Rajesh Pradhan, superintendent of police, Thane rural, said.

“This incident should not be seen as a standalone event and it is yet another incident of attack on journalist community in Mumbai and elsewhere in Maharashtra when they are in the line of duty,” a release issued by Rajesh Mascarenhas, secretary, Press Club, had said after the assault on the woman journalist.

State’s home minister Ranjit Patil said the matter was under investigation. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met representatives of journalist association and assured them that the matter of security of journalists would be taken up on Monday.