Centre Asks States To Ensure Safety of Journalists, Swiftly Probe Cases of Attacks on Scribes
NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked all State governments and Union Territories to strictly enforce the law to ensure that a peaceful environment prevails for journalists and media persons to carry out their professional duties.
Taking a serious view of the concerns expressed by journalists and their various organisations over growing attacks on journalists in different parts of the country, Union Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all State governments and administrators of Union Territories to ensure a peaceful environment to allow scribes to “exercise freedom of speech and expression in their professional pursuit.”
Referring to the cases of attacks on journalists, the Home Ministry asked the States and UTs to ensure that investigations are conducted in a time bound manner and public trust in criminal justice system is maintained.
The latest advisory came within a fortnight of a delegation of journalists, led by the Press Club of India, meeting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and submitting a memorandum to him, urging the government to speed up probe in cases of attacks on journalists and take necessary action to ensure their safety and security.
“The Fourth Estate is an important institution of our democracy. It ensures that citizens are able to express their opinions freely without any fear and coercion as provided under the Constitution of India. It is the duty of State to ensure safety and security of journalists who ensure that the fourth estate discharges this key role.
From time to time incidents of attack on journalists/media persons are reported in the media. All such cases need to be investigated promptly to ensure that criminals get prosecuted in a time bound manner. States should also take all preventive and deterrent action as deemed required. States are already empowered to provide security to individuals based on threat perceptions,” the Home Ministry’s advisory noted.
While Police and public order are state subjects, in view of its importance, the advisory said that Union Government has been drawing the attention of the State governments from time to tome towards the need for a robust criminal justice system with emphasis on prevention and control of crime.
While directing strict compliance of the advisory, the Home Ministry asked the States and UTs to widely circulate it among all concerned departments and organisations under their jurisdiction. The advisory was sent to Home Secretaries and Police chiefs of all States and UTs.