Attempt to frighten media into submission, says BEA
Expressing serious concern over the growing incidents of attack on media by groups, institutions and those holding constitutional positions, the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) has said that there is a pattern in the events aimed at frightening the media.delhi Updated: Mar 04, 2012 15:34 IST
Expressing serious concern over the growing incidents of attack on media by groups, institutions and those holding constitutional positions, the Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) has said that there is a pattern in the events aimed at frightening the media.
“There seems a pattern in all these incidents suggesting that an attempt is sought to be made to frighten the media into submission particularly because it works in most sublime public interest”, the BEA said in a press release.
BEA, the country’s apex body of editors of national and regional TV news channels, will send a five-member team to go into the Karnataka assembly incident and subsequent developments. A report will be submitted to Meira Kumar, Lok Sabha speaker, who is also chairperson of the All India Speakers’ Conference.
“The manner in which a Karnataka assembly house committee had summoned some editors of TV channels and the tone and tenor of the questions asked of the editors were not in consonance with elementary principles on which pillars of democracy rest,” the release said.
“By showing visuals of MLAs allegedly watching pornographic material on mobile phones right when the Assembly proceedings were underway, the channels had worked to serve the most important public interest which overrides all other institutional and individual privileges.”
Equally the BEA also expressed shock at the response of the Karnataka chief minister who reportedly justified the incident where journalists were badly beaten up allegedly by lawyers and goons in Bangalore on Friday.
In the case of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, the BEA said that the speaker is said to have claimed that the media is subservient to the state assembly. “Such assertions not only show ignorance of those running democratic institutions but also expose their contempt for freedom of expression which is a fundamental right guaranteed to every citizen under Article 19(1) (a).”
The comment of the speaker came when some ministers objected to media reporting on malfunctioning of their respective departments.
Besides expressing concern at the beating up of journalists allegedly by the ruling Trinamool Congress workers in Jadhavpur, West Bengal, the BEA also expressed outrage at the subsequent reaction of state chief minister Mamata Banarjee who said the incident “was a cook-up”.