Chhattisgarh plans law to protect scribes | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Chhattisgarh plans law to protect scribes

Raipur | By
Dec 22, 2018 09:43 AM IST

A draft of the journalist protection act is likely to be prepared in the next few days, an official close to chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said.

Acting on the demand of the journalist fraternity, the Chhattisgarh government is mulling a law for the protection of journalists. If sources are to be believed, orders vis-a-vis have been issued and a draft of the journalist protection act will be prepared in the next few days.

The Chhattisgarh government is mulling a law for the protection of journalists(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
The Chhattisgarh government is mulling a law for the protection of journalists(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

“We have promised in our manifesto that a law will be made for the protection of journalists if we come in power hence it is our priority. We are very sensitive about the protection of journalists across the state,” said chief minister Bhupesh Baghel told Hindustan Times.

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Sources close to the chief minister said that a draft of the law will be made after consulting senior journalists, activists, and human rights defenders.

“We will discuss the law with the editors across the country and also with organizations of journalists,” said an official working on the draft of the law.

Kamal Shukla, a senior journalist working in Bastar region and coordinator of Patrakar Suraksha Kanoon Sanyukt Sangharsh Samiti – which seeks a law to protect journalists, said that it was a welcome decision of the government.

“I am thankful to the Congress government that they are making such law. Many journalists of Bastar were booked under various sections of lPC and even sedition law for reporting the fact. This is a relief for the people who are covering Bastar region,” said Shukla, who was also booked under sedition charges in Kanker district in 2018.

It is worth mentioning here that about twelve journalists were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including sedition, in Bastar over the last five years.

In December 2017, Chhattisgarh government in the legislative assembly informed that fourteen journalists were arrested in Chhattisgarh in 2017.

Prabhat Singh, a journalist who was booked by Bastar police and now acquitted believes that the law has both positive and negative implications.

“For the honest journalists this is welcome step because now they will not be falsely implicated but for some people who extort money in the name of journalism will also be benefitted,” said Singh.

In 2017, the Maharashtra government also made journalist protection law. The Maharashtra Media Persons and Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, 2017 was passed in Maharashtra legislative assembly, which state that any incident of violence against media persons or damage or loss of property of media persons or media institutions is now punishable in the state.

Over the years, many journalists have allegedly been falsely implicated, arrested and booked under various laws, including stringent sedition law, in the state.

In 2015, Santosh Yadav was booked under the Chhattisgarh Special Security Act. Yadav was booked on charges of rioting, criminal conspiracy and associating with Maoists. Yadav was arrested by police in October 2015 on the suspicion of links with Maoist leader Shankar in Darbha area of Bastar. His arrest led to a protest by journalists and a march to CM house in Raipur. Santosh is currently on bail.

In 2018, a Bastar-based journalist, Kamal Shukla, was booked under the sedition law for allegedly posting a cartoon lampooning the country’s judiciary and government on Facebook. A case against Shukla has been registered at the Katwali police station in Chhattisgarh’s Kanker district. Shukla was booked on the basis of a complaint filed by a Rajasthan resident. Kamal too is currently on bail.

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    State Correspondent for Chhattisgarh. Reports Maoism, Politics, Mining and important developments from the state. Covered all sorts of extremism in Central India. Reported from Madhya Pradesh for eight years.

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