Srinagar, June 14: Press Club of India (PCI) and Editors Guild of India (EGI) have expressed concern over the recent incidents where journalists have been bullied, threatened and intimidated by political leaders.
A statement from PCI states that "it is unfortunate and highly condemnable that journalists faced harassment while they were discharging their duties. Such acts on the part of political leaders amount to undermining the freedom of the press".
"On June 10, a senior woman journalist in Kerala faced action by naming her as an accused in a First Information Report (FIR) which was registered by the state police on a complaint filed by the Student Federation of India (SFI). The said journalist is working for Asianet News and was on an official assignment. She faced accusations from the SFI, alleging that she was out to defame a leader of the student wing of the ruling CPI(M)".
"The police named her in the FIR and also interrogated her. A day earlier on June 9, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Minority Affairs Smriti Irani, threatened a journalist while she was on a visit to Amethi, her Lok Sabha constituency. In a video clip, the Minister is seen telling the journalist that she would call up the owner of the paper because she took it as an affront when the journalist requested her to speak a few words. She dubbed it as an attempt by the journalist to insult the people" of her constituency."
Meanwhile, the Editor’s Guild of India (EGI) said that this incident depicts “threats” that impinge directly on press freedom.
The EGI also criticised the CPI(M) government in Kerala for registering a first information report (FIR) against a journalist, saying it “is a matter of deep concern that mere reportage on political leaders can invite an FIR and questioning by the police”. It asked the Kerala government to withdraw the case against the journalist with immediate effect.