Several leading journalists’ bodies and media organisations held a meeting at the Press Club of India premises here on Friday to mourn and protest the killing of the 28-year-old TV reporter Santanu Bhowmick in Tripura, and to express outrage over the rising incidents of violence against journalists across the country.
A reporter of Tripura’s Din-Rat news channel, Santanu was allegedly lynched while covering the agitation and road blockade by the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) at Mandai in West Tripura district on Wednesday.
Scores of journalists and media professionals attended today’s meeting here, which was organised by the Press Club of India, Indian Women Press Corps, Press Association, Federation of Press Clubs in India, and North-East Media Forum.
A number of their functionaries as well as senior editors addressed the gathering to express their condolences, condemnation and horror over Santanu’s brutal killing in the line of duty that came barely 15 days after the chilling murder of veteran journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh by assailants who pumped several bullets into her at the gate of her house in Bengaluru.
Pointing to journalists being increasingly subjected to growing cases of intimidation, attack, and murder in various parts of the country, they charged that India seems to be
becoming a dangerous place to work as a journalist, especially in conflict belts such as Northeast, Jammu & Kashmir, and Maoist-affected states, and in small towns and remote areas.
They pointed out that the targeting of journalists is tantamount to assaulting our democracy, the freedom of the press ~ and free speech enshrined as a fundamental right in the Constitution of India. “This is unacceptable in a democracy like India,” they said,
adding that most of the killers of journalists in different parts of the country have not been punished so far.
Pressing for strong measures by the government, both the Centre and states, to ensure safety and security of journalists, they also demanded a law in this regard besides asking the governments and media organisations to also consider insurance and social security covers for them.
A resolution was adopted at the meeting, which also urged the governments to clamp down on social media trolls, misogynists and hate-mongers going after media persons unrelentingly.
The journalists’ bodies also proposed a silent protest march and human chain on these issues in the national capital and other parts of the country on 2 October ~ the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.