Want a law to protect 'genuine' journalists: Devendra Fadnavis

Reacting to protests over the delay in passing legislation to protect journalists, the CM said he was for the law, but did not want it to cover those who misuse the profession; scribes demanding the legislation cited the killings of three scribes in UP and MP recently and the J Dey murder case in 2011

On a day when journalists across the state held a protest against the delay in passing legislation protecting those in the profession, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he was for such a law but wanted to ensure that it does not cover those who misuse their profession. He said yesterday that political consensus was needed to pass a comprehensive law.

Addressing journalists while inaugurating a media room in the renovated Mantralaya, Fadnavis said he has asked for the process of drafting the bill to be initiated
Addressing journalists while inaugurating a media room in the renovated Mantralaya, Fadnavis said he has asked for the process of drafting the bill to be initiated

Fadnavis was reacting to a demand made by the Mantralaya and Legislature Journalists Association and Opposition leaders Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil and Dhananjay Munde while inaugurating a media room at the renovated Mantralaya.

Protest
Journalists across the state staged a protest yesterday and sent hundreds of text messages about their demand to Fadnavis, Patil and Munde on Monday. The agitation was held in the wake of the killing of journalists at the behest of mafia with political connections and the underworld.

Recently, three journalists two from Madhya Pradesh, and one from UP were allegedly killed. While one scribe from MP was allegedly killed for investigating the Vyapam scam, another was allegedly burnt alive for exposing the mining mafia. It was alleged that the journalist in UP was killed at the behest of a sitting legislator.

Four years ago, mid-day’s Editor (Investigations) J Dey was shot dead in Powai by Chhota Rajan’s henchmen, sending shockwaves and triggering protests across the country. The court has framed charges against 10 accused recently under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Arms Act and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

‘All for it’
“I’m all for the law to protect journalists, but I’m also of the view that the law should not protect people who misuse their profession,” Fadnavis said, adding that he has already asked Director General of Information and Public Relations Chandrashekhar Oak to start the process of drafting a bill after consulting stakeholders.

Fadnavis also reminded the gathering that while the previous Congress-NCP govern- ment had rejected a proposal to pass such a law, his government was in favour of the legislation. The Chairman of Legislative Council, Ramraje Nimbalkar, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Haribhau Bagde, too, said they were in favour of the law.

The presiding officers asked the state government to draft a “perfect law” and said they would extend their full support whenever the legislation came to their respective Houses for approval.

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