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Published on December 14th, 2012

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CM wants mini Press Council for Maharashtra

Rising attacks and mounting pressure from journalists prompts CM to promise to push for Bill in the next Cabinet meeting.
by The Editors | editor@themetrognome.in

Rising attacks on journalists in the State have got Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan promising a string of measures to protect journalists. Precipitated by a need to have a stringent law in place to ward off attacks on journalists, especially after the February 2012 attack on The Times of India building in Mumbai by the Shiv Sena, a Committee Against Attacks on Journalists had been set up to push for a law to protect journalists.

In a meeting with the Committee in Nagpur yesterday, where the State Legislature is currently in its Winter Session, Chavan assured the delegation that he would review and further discuss the need to implement a law that protected journalists in the State. “We will also look into the setting up of a body like The Press Council of India which is unique to Maharashtra, and which will look into the welfare of journalists in the State,” Chavan said during the meeting.

Members of the Committee had been sitting on an indefinite fast to have their demands met – the Committee has been increasingly frustrated by the State Government’s inaction in the matter. Chavan said, “No doubt there needs to exist a law that protects journalists from attacks. However, such a law and its implications need to be studied in great detail before it can be effectively implemented.”

In February this year, the CM promised to push for the Bill in the Cabinet, and appointed State Industries Minister Narayan Rane to the panel that would formulate the law. Interestingly, Rane was one of the ministers opposed to such a Bill in the first place.

Maharashtra has had quite a few examples of journalists clashing with politicians, builders and others, especially in the mofussil areas, where journalists are said to be targeted routinely. As per records of the last 10 years, 11 journalists have been murdered and six media organisations have been attacked, with a majority of these attacks perpetrated by political parties. From 2010 till date, there have been 212 attacks on journalists and media houses in Maharashtra.

 (Picture courtesy criticalppp.com)

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