Journalists' bodies seek President Murmu's intervention against 'draconian laws'
New Delhi, Oct 16 (PTI) Nine journalists' bodies on Monday petitioned President Droupadi Murmu, seeking her intervention on the issue of use of "draconian laws" against media persons.
Press Club of India, Indian Women Press Corps, Press Association, Delhi Union of Journalists, Digipub, Foreign Correspondents' Club, Kerala Union of Working Journalists, Veteran Journalists Group, and All India Lawyers Union also staged a protest over the "unprecedented situation faced by the independent media in India." "Today, our community faces a similar but more insidious challenge. Even as the majority in our profession face precarious working conditions, the use of draconian laws against journalists has gone up exponentially," they said.
The journalists said with these draconian laws, the authorities have exercised an unfettered right to seize equipment such as phones, laptops and hard disks – implements which are the source of livelihood for their community.
"We request your intervention as the highest Constitutional authority to ensure that the freedoms in our Constitution are protected which includes the freedom of speech, the freedom to profess occupation and livelihood," the journalists' bodies said.
The letter came days after Delhi Police carried out searches at the premises of several journalists associated with online news portal NewsClick for allegedly receiving money to spread pro-China propaganda.
According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal allegedly came in from China to "disrupt the sovereignty of India" and cause disaffection against the country.
Prabir Purkayastha, the founder of the news portal, and its HR head Amit Chakravarty have been under arrest since October 3.
Police have invoked the stringent anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) against the two journalists. PTI SKU SKU VN VN