AMN / New Delhi
Journalist across the country on Monday held peaceful protest march against brutal attack on them in different parts of the country.
In New Delhi Journalists gathered at the Press Club of India (PCI) and formed a human chain to condemn the recent spate of killings, threats and violence directed at journalists. Similar reports came from Press clubs and media bodies of different state capitals and cities.
Organised on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the protesting journalists, wearing black bands, also took out a silent march from the PCI to the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) building, demanding press freedom.
“This is not a token effort, this is just the first step,” said senior journalist Rajdeep Sardesai. “In the name of the Mahatma, this violence has to stop; both physical and mental.”
A petition, signed by hundreds of journalists, is going to be submitted to the home ministry on October 5, when the presidents of various press clubs from across the country are going to meet to chalk out the future course of action, PCI president Gautam Lahiri said.
In a joint statement, they said: “The peaceful protest drew attention to the increasing unsafe environment for journalists, the misogynistic and abusive targeting of mediapersons for their views on online forums, covert and overt threat to physically harm journalists for holding different opinions and increasing intolerance against criticism.”
The demonstration comes nearly a month after journalist Gauri Lankesh was killed outside her home in Bengaluru, sparking protests across the country. A fortnight later, reporter Shantanu Bhowmick was abducted and killed in Tripura. While arrests have been made in Mr Bhowmick’s murder case, Ms Lankesh’s attackers are still on the run.
Several reporters across Delhi-NCR too have complained of receiving anonymous threats of violence over WhatsApp and phone calls.
“A memorandum appending the signatures of hundreds of journalists will be submitted to the home minister, requesting his intervention for a status report on attacks against journalists in various states and action taken in that regard,” a joint statement issued by the PCI, IWPC, Federation of Press Clubs in India, Press Association, Kerala Union of Working Journalists and the Indian Journalists’ Union said.