The Indian chapter of the South Asia Media Commission (SAMC) has “strongly condemned” the recent attack by a “vandalizing mob” in Mumbai on the residence of Kumar Ketkar, editor of Loksatta, following an editorial criticizing the Maharashtra government’s decision to install at great expense a Chhatrapati Shivaji statue off Marine Drive in the Arabian Sea.
In a statement, the SAMC demanded the attack be investigated by the police and action taken against law-breakers. It also called on the state government to ensure the safety of journalists and safeguard the freedom of expression and rule of law.
“Journalists and newspapers have a democratic and constitutionally guaranteed right freely to express their views on every topic under the sun,” Media Commission-India president N. Ram and veteran journalist and coordinator Nihal Singh said.
According to them, those who don’t like these views have the right to criticize them through constitutional and peaceful means.
“Competitive chauvinism and intolerance is a serious threat to media freedom and freedom of expression, which is growingly menaced in our region by the belief in various quarters that the news media can be threatened into silence by strong-arm methods and violence, misuse of law, or abuse of political power,” they said, adding that safety of journalists is a critical issue across South Asia.