Journalists’ fraternity urge the government to expedite the process of passing a legislation to protect journalists.
Attacks against journalists continue to rise unabated in Maharashtra as questions are being raised about their security. This year, there have been 79 incidents of attacks on journalists as 88 scribes sustained injuries. As per statistics available with Action Committee Against Attacks on Journalists on an average a journalist is attacked every four days in the state. Around 341 journalists have been assaulted from 1st January 2012 to December 2016. When will the government frame a legislation to prevent attacks against journalists asked Mr. S. M Deshmukh convenor of Action Committee Against Attacks on Journalists. The organisation has compiled a data of the number of attacks which have occurred on journalists.
Eighty eight journalists have succumbed to injuries in 2016 also many of them have received death threats to stop covering news. One of the journalists has been kidnapped and a complaint has been filed at Mulund police station. Many journalists have committed suicide after receiving death threats. In 2012, there have been 45 incidents of attack on journalists whereas around 65 scribes were assaulted in 2013. Attacks have not reduced even after the Modi government came to power in 2014 as 66 cases were reported. Since last five years offices of leading newspapers have been attacked 22 times. Even offices of news channels have not been spared either.
The Marathi Patrakar Parishad, Action Committee Against Attacks on Journalists and other organisations have been urging the government to pass a legislation to protect journalists while discharging their duties. They have even held protests whenever journalists are being assaulted.
“The accused are roaming scot free due to the lackadaisical attitude of the government. The government is not serious about framing a law to make attacks on scribes a non-bailable and cognisable offence hence they are being attacked by miscreants who are aware that no action will be taken against them,” said S. M. Deshmukh convenor of Action Committee Against Attacks on Journalists.
Persons associated with some or the other political party were involved in sixty six incidents of attack on journalists. They also issue threats to journalists. Even police have attacked scribes. Ten per cent of the attack has been committed by goons and mafias. Even if a case is filed and accused is arrested he is granted bail after few days.
“If the government is offering protection to doctors then why they don’t think about enhancing security of journalists? They must make attacks on journalists a non-bailable offence. Such type of cases must be heard in fast track courts. Whenever we carry out protests the government only gives false assurance about bringing a legislation to protect journalists,” said Kiran Naik member of Action Committee Against Attacks on Journalists.
Last year journalist Raghvendra Dubey, who was the owner and journalist of Local Weekly newspaper Khushboo Ujala, was found dead, two other journalists — Santosh Mishra (44) and Shashi Sharma (49) — were attacked outside White House bar at Mira Road.