Bring in law to protect journalists, ensure speedy trial: PCI

New Delhi: Strongly condemning the killing of two journalists in Bihar and Jharkhand in the past couple of days, the Press Council of India (PCI) has demanded that a special law be enacted to ensure safety of scribes and cases of attacks on them be tried by fast-track courts.

In a statement issued here, PCI chairman Justice (retd) Chandramouli Kumar Prasad “strongly condemned” the killings and also rued the fact that in 96 per cent of such cases, the matter is not taken to logical conclusion.

“It is a matter of grave concern that three journalists were killed in the country in the last four months and another died in a tragic accident while on the line of duty,” he said.

“I urge upon the Government of India to enact a special law for protection of journalists and speedy trial of cases of attacks and assaults them in special fast track courts as recommended by the Sub-Committee for Safety of Journalists appointed by the Press Council,” the PCI chief, who is a former judge of ths Supreme Court, said in his statement.

The PCI chief mentioned that on Thursday, Akhilesh Pratap Singh working for news channel, was shot dead by some unknown assailants in Chatra district of Jharkhand and yesterday armed miscreants shot dead the News Bureau Chief of Dainik Hindustan Rajdev Ranjan in Siwan, Bihar.

He recounted that earlier Karun Mishra, working with a local newspaper, was killed in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.

Four days earlier on Monday, 9 May, Ravi Kanojia, a PCI Awardee in 2014, was killed while taking pictures of water train at Jhansi, he added.

“The killing of nine journalists last year and three journalists this year so far, does not bode well for the freedom of media and safety of journalists in the country. It is sad that such incidents happen in the largest democracy in the world,” Prasad said.

He noted that 96 per cent of the cases of killing of journalists have not been taken to logical conclusion and are either languishing in the courts or in some cases, investigation reached dead-end in the last two decades, as reported by a Committee of the PCI.

He called upon editors, managements and working journalists in the country to launch a campaign to sensitize the civil society on the dangers of killing of journalists with impunity.

Prasad expressed “deep sympathy” with the members of the bereaved families and urged the state governments to pay adequate compensation to them