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Editors’ body demands strict laws to check attacks on scribes


New Delhi: The All India Newspaper Editors’ Conference (AINEC) has demanded strict laws with “stiff and deterrent” punishment to deal with rising incidents of attacks on journalists in the country and said any case of fatality should automatically be referred to CBI or any other national- level probe agency.

Expressing deep concern over targeting of journalists, AINEC strongly supported Press Council of India’s demand that all cases of such attacks be investigated by a special task force under the supervision of the press watchdog or court and investigation completed within a month.

At a Standing Committee meeting of AINEC under chairmanship of Vishwa Bandhu Gupta, the members said whenever a journalist is murdered, the case should automatically go to CBI or any other national level probe agency and the investigation should be completed within three months.

AINEC — dedicated to the promotion and protection of press freedom —  said about 115 incidents of attacks on journalists were reported in 2014 with highest being in Uttar Pradesh.

In the meeting on Monday, the members backed PCI’s demand for enactment of strict laws to make any attack, verbal or physical, on a journalist a cognisable offence with “stiff and deterrent punishment”.

They said all cases of attacks on journalists, fatal or otherwise, should be referred to Special Courts which may conduct day-to-day hearings and that trial may be completed within a year of filing of charge sheet.

“They have also supported PCI recommendation that PCI may direct Army and Paramilitary Commanders to appoint a Nodal Officer at state headquarters where they are operating against militants, so that there is better coordination between the media and the forces,” a statement issued by AINEC Secretary A K Wanchoo said.

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