MHA to soon issue SOPs for safety of Journalists while interviewing or covering news in risky situations.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will soon draft a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for safety and security of journalists.
This comes following the killing of don-turned-politician Atique Ahmed and his brother's who were shot dead by three persons disgusing themselves as TV news reporters.
Ahmed and his brother Khalid Azim alias Ashraf were shot dead by three assailants posed as journalist on the pretext of recording a news byte got near to the duo and fired at them from close range while being escorted by about a dozen police personnel. The duo were taken for a medical check-up when the incident took place.
A senior government official said on Sunday that an SOP was in the works for the safety of media persons when they follow an accused or interview them in police or judicial custody. The decision to draft the SOP was taken as per the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the official said.
The three persons who shot the duo have been identified as Lovelesh Tiwari, Sunny Singh and Arun Maurya who apparently carried identity cards, a mic and camera posing as reporters.
The killings were captured live on television cameras as the duo were interacting live with the reporters.
The First Hand Report (FIR) said one of the accused got injured in cross-firing and so were some media persons.
This is not the first time when the MHA has expressed concern on the safety of journalists.
Earlier, on October 20, 2017, the Ministry advised all States “to strictly enforce the law to ensure that a peaceful environment prevails, allowing journalists/media personnel to exercise freedom of speech and expression in their professional pursuit; ensure that investigations are concluded in a time-bound manner and public trust in criminal justice system is maintained.”
The advisory said the “Fourth Estate” is an important institution of our democracy which ensures that citizens are able to express their opinions freely without any fear and coercion as provided under the Constitution.
The advisory added, “From time to time, incidents of attack on journalists/media persons are reported in the media. All such cases need to be investigated promptly to ensure that criminals get prosecuted in a time-bound manner. States should also take all preventive and deterrent action as deemed required. States are already empowered to provide security to individuals based on threat perceptions.”
(With inputs from The Hindu)
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