ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Journalists' Protection

Press freedom in our country is not a special privilege of journalists. They enjoy the general freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution for all citizens. Whether special freedom needs to be given to journalists or not may be a matter of two opinions. But special protection should be given as journalists are attacked, killed and their offices are ransacked by dissatisfied activists mostly belonging to sociopolitical organisations or criminal elements. Madhya Pradesh journalist Chandrika Rai and his family members were killed recently, allegedly by the local mining mafia. Earlier, the office of a Marathi daily in Mumbai was assaulted and ransacked by activists of a political party. There have been numerous similar incidents and journalists have consistently demanded better protection, including legislation.

But whether such legislation should be at the state level or national level has not yet been decided. An attempt to decide the issue at the state level seems to be foiled in the case of Maharashtra. The committee appointed for the purpose prepared the recommendatory draft of the bill which has not yet been pressed for further action. The chief minister, Prithviraj Chavan has reportedly disclosed that most of the political parties were not in favour of the legislation, although individual members express their support. It is diffi cult to understand why political parties are afraid of this legislation. The legislation is urgently needed as the assaults on journalists and newspapers are increasing by the day. Especially in the semi-urban and rural areas allurement, threats and attacks are being used to pressure journalists.

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