Strongly condemning the killing of two journalists in Bihar and Jharkhand, the Press Council of India (PCI) has demanded that a special law should be enacted to ensure safety of scribes. PCI said cases of attacks on journalists should be tried by fast-track courts.
PCI chairman Justice (retd) Chandramouli Kumar Prasad “strongly condemned” the killings and rued the fact that many cases like this don’t reach a conclusion.
“It is a matter of grave concern that three journalists were killed in the country in the last four months and another died in a tragic accident while on the line of duty,” he said.
“I urge upon the government of India to enact a special law for protection of journalists and speedy trial of cases of attacks and assaults on them in special fast track courts as recommended by the sub-committee for safety of journalists appointed by the Press Council,” said the PCI chief, also a former judge of Supreme Court.
The PCI chief cited two cases -- Akhilesh Pratap Singh who was working for a news channel, was shot dead by unknown assailants in Chatra district of Jharkhand on Thursday and Rajdeo Ranjan, the Hindustan bureau chief who was shot dead in Siwan, Bihar.
Prasad also mentioned Karun Mishra who was killed in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh while working for a locan newspaper.
Ravi Kanojia, a PCI awardee in 2014, was killed on Monday while taking pictures of a water train at Jhansi, Prasad added.
“The killing of nine journalists last year and three journalists this year so far, does not bode well for the freedom of media and safety of journalists in the country. It is sad that such incidents happen in the largest democracy in the world,” Prasad said.
He noted that 96% of the cases of killing of journalists have not been taken to logical conclusion and are either languishing in the courts or in some cases, investigation reached dead-end in the last two decades, as reported by a committee of the PCI.
He called upon editors, managements and working journalists in the country to launch a campaign to sensitise the civil society on the dangers of killing of journalists with impunity.
Prasad expressed “deep sympathy” with the members of the bereaved families and urged the state governments to pay adequate compensation to them.