NBA condemns assault on mediapersons in Hissar, wants action against policemen

NEW DELHI: The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) vehemently condemned the brutal assault by policemen on journalists and cameramen who were covering the police action outside the ashram of self-styled godman Baba Rampal in Hissar, Haryana on 18 November.


In a press statement today, NBA president Rajat Sharma said: "This was a frontal attack on the freedom of the press. The whole nation was watching on television as policemen in 'khaki' were openly beating up journalists and cameramen who were merely doing their job of reporting. Policemen in uniform deliberately damaged expensive TV cameras and cellphones belonging to news channels and reporters, in full view of their senior officials.”


The NBA president has urged the Chief Minister of Haryana to ensure that action be taken immediately against the men in uniform who ordered and carried out the unprovoked attacks on journalists and cameramen.  


"The NBA clearly wishes to put it on record that such a naked show of unbridled 'khaki' power is unacceptable under any canon of democracy. The powers-that-be must understand that the journalists were only carrying out their lawful duty of disseminating information to the people even as events were unfolding right in front of their eyes.


"For over two weeks now, the nation has been watching the spectacle of a state police looking completely helpless in arresting a self-styled godman hidden by his goons in his ashram and producing him before the Hon'ble High Court. On the contrary, the police today unleashed its power on helpless journalists doing their lawful duty.


"The NBA considers this attack a blot on the face of democracy, and an assault on the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in the Constitution," Sharma said.


"The Chief Minister must take exemplary action against the culprits to ensure that such shameful incidents are not repeated in future," added Sharma.


Meanwhile, the Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) also strongly condemned the beating up of journalists and camerapersons who were covering the clashes between the police and supporters of controversial godman Rampal.


It said it had been reported that while some journalists have been injured, camera and equipment of photo journalists have been damaged or broken. Even DGP S N Vashisht, confronted with evidence, had to concede a journalist was beaten up and that he will investigate the matter.


The DUJ calls for the institution of a high level enquiry to probe the beatings of journalists. While demanding immediate compensation for those who have suffered injuries and damage to their equipment, the DUJ reiterates its demand that a compensation and insurance cover be put in place for media persons who while covering such conflicts have to face various hazardous tasks.


The DUJ would also like to state that no one is above the law. The use of women and children as protective shields and exposing them to grave risks is highly condemnable and cannot be tolerated.



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