*Union condemns stripping of journalists in MP and chaining of a journalist in Odisha.
The Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ) has appealed to the state government to fast-track the introduction and notification of the ‘Goa Journalist Welfare Bill’ which will provide protection to journalists from violence while on duty.
Chief minister Pramod Sawant in his 2020 budget speech had announced the legislation ‘Goa Journalist Welfare Bill’ to protect on-duty Goan journalists from violence.
The Goa Union of Journalists’ executive committee had earlier submitted the draft of the much-needed ‘Goa State Journalists Protection Act’ to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. The Chief Minister has been consistently updated on the Journalists Protection Acts in other states on account of an increase in the number of crimes against journalists.
According to the Director, Information and Publicity, Dipak Bandekar, technical queries raised by the Police and Law department had delayed the implementation process. All technical queries have been addressed now and the ‘Goa Journalist Welfare Bill’ will be soon introduced and passed in the coming session of the Goa Legislative Assembly.
Meanwhile, GUJ strongly condemns the ugly incidents of journalists along with YouTubers and theatre artists being arrested and stripped down to their inner wears inside the Kotwali police station in Sidhi, Madhya Pradesh.
According to the local YouTube journalist Kanishk Tewari, he and his camera person were arrested while covering the protest against the arrest of theatre artist Neeraj Kumar for making alleged indecent remarks against BJP’s Kedarnath Shukla and his son Kedar Shukla.
According to the Free Press Journal, journalists were kept in the lock-up for nearly 18 hours, severely beaten and asked to remove their clothes. To further humiliate the group, police clicked photos of journalists, artists and activists and posted them on social media.
In another incident in Odisha’s Balasore district, police chained a journalist’s leg to a hospital bed, following a case of assault.
Local journalist Loknath Delai has however refuted the charges stating that his reporting on corruption involving police led to his arrest.
These cowardly acts by the law enforcing authorities in Madhya Pradesh and Odisha are highly condemnable. They are an attack on the freedom of the press which cannot be treated lightly.