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Kolkata journalists given special jackets during BJP rally

IANS | Kolkata |

Three days after over 20 city-based journalists were beaten up by police while covering the Left parties' protest march to state secretariat — Nabanna, the city police on Thursday arranged special jackets for media persons so that they could be identified among the crowd during a similar event organised by the BJP.

Police distributed fluorescent coloured jackets with a 'Press' sticker on it at three major interception points — Phears Lane, Bentinck Street and the Tea Board of India's office on Brabourne Road — for the journalists who covered the protest march to the city police headquarters in Lalbazar called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

A large number of reporters and camera persons of both print and electronic media were seen flaunting the jacket while covering the BJP's massive protest rallies and the incidents of clashes between police and the protesters throughout Thursday.

However, a section of the journalists refused to wear the jackets stating nowhere else in India mediapersons have to wear such 'uniforms' while covering political rallies.

Terming it as an 'eyewash in the name of precaution', some journalists claimed police should be responsible enough to identify the reporters while some others questioned the intent of police as many camera persons and reporters were beaten up during the leftists' rally on Monday in spite of carrying the boom microphones and cameras of the respective news channels.

Terming the proposal as 'patently absurd', the Indian Journalists' Association rejected the idea and urged the state police to discard it.

"Indian Journalists' Association (IJA) outright rejects the patently absurd jacket-wearing-by-journalists proposal. Nowhere in the world, except in war fields, the power that be can ever think of forcing journalists to put on outfits to mark them out," the IJA said in a press release.