The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Monday condemned recent incidents of police “brutality and violence” against journalists in Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country during ongoing protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed national register of citizens (NRC), demanding for an “adequate protection” to them.
It urged the Union home ministry to direct the police forces in different States to offer “adequate protection” to the journalists who are engaged in the coverage of the ongoing protests, underlining that the using of “force or physical violence” against the journalists on duty throttles “the very voice of democracy” and media freedom.
“Guild condemns the various acts of violence and brutality committed by police forces, in particular, those in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, against media persons in different parts of the country in the last one week,” the Editor's body said in a statement.
Instead of targeting them for physical attack, the need of the hour was to ensure proper and responsible coverage, a goal that cannot be achieved by such acts of violence and brutality against the journalists on duty, it added.
While Karnataka police detained eight television journalists from Kerala in Mangaluru last week in the mist of anti-citizenship law and NRC protest and allegedly tortured them mentally, one print media scribe was arrested by police in Uttar Pradesh and allegedly tortured.
In another incident, police forces broke into the offices of the Prag News, a private news channel, and beat up its cameramen and other staff in Assam on December 13 while massive protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 were underway in Guwahati.
“The Guild reminds the police forces across the country that the journalists are present at different venues, where protests are taking place, as part of their Constitutionally guaranteed duties of gathering information and disseminating it among the people through their respective media platforms,” the EGI stated, lashing out at the police forces.