Journalist organisations ask Rajasthan CM to withdraw ‘draconian’ Bill
Protesting against the Rajasthan government move to amend criminal laws, journalists wearing black armbands held a protest march in Jaipur Tuesday. The protestors were briefly detained by the police.
Meanwhile, leading journalist organisations, including the Press Club of India and the Indian Women’s Press Corps, Tuesday slammed the “draconian” Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2017 tabled by the Rajasthan government, saying it restrains the media from acting as a “watchdog and ombudsman of society”.
In a letter to Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, they said the Bill restrains the reporting by the media of any possible allegations made against public officers.
Not only does this clampdown on reporting militate against public interest as the public are impacted by government policies and decisions - good or bad - but the Bill subverts the basic freedom of the press which is enshrined in the spirit of Article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution, said the organisations that also included the Press Association and the Federation of Press Clubs in India.
In their letter, forwarded to the media, they noted that “it is ironic and unfortunate that at a time when there is a great demand and an even greater need for public accountability and transparency, your government appears to be moving in the opposite direction”.
They urged Raje to withdraw the Bill
Earlier, calling the prposed law “kala kanoon” (black law), journalists started a march from Pink City Press Club for the Rajasthan Assembly. Senior journalist Om Thanvi, who came from Delhi, Praveen Chand Chabbra and Milap Chand Dandiya took part in the march that also saw participation of organizations such as Shramjivi Patrakar Sangh, Rajasthan Patrakar Sangh, IFWJ, Council of Journalists and Patrakar Trust of India.