The state government is planning to introduce a legislation that provides for stringent punishment for attacking journalists or media offices and makes the offence non-bailable.
The Shiv Sena’s attacks on offices and staff of Marathi news channel IBN Lokmat last week prompted the move.
Home Minister R R Patil on Tuesday directed his department to work out a draft for the proposed legislation—either by way of a bill or an ordinance.
“The minister has sought details on what can be done in this regard,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar.
Patil, during his previous tenure, had proposed a similar legislation covering doctors and journalists. However, journalists were dropped from the list when the actual ordinance was promulgated. Now, Patil wants provisions related to journalists to be revived.
The proposed legislation, however, may not cover all journalists as the law and judiciary department had earlier suggested that only government-accredited journalists could be covered under the legislation.
The government issues an ordinance if a law has to be introduced when the legislature is not in session.
However, with the state legislature’s winter session due in a fortnight, the government is unlikely to go for an ordinance.
On the other hand, the home department has not yet begun the procedure to get a legislation passed in the coming session— it includes drafting the bill after seeking opinion from departments concerned, getting the cabinet to approve it and getting it listed among the bills to be tabled in the session.