NEW DELHI / MUMBAI: The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has condemned the assault by lawyers and others on journalists and cameramen, especially women journalists, who were reporting from Patiala House Court ON 15 February.
The incident occurred when JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar was to be produced in the Court.
Condemning the incident and terming it as an attack on the freedom of the press, NBA president Rajat Sharma called it a cowardly attack meant to intimidate journalists carrying out their work in disseminating news and information, a service that is essential for any democratic society.
Senior journalist and India Today Group consulting editor Rajdeep Sardesai said, “The journalists are rightly showing solidarity to what happened yesterday at the Patiala House. What happened yesterday was unexpected. The way the lawyers acted is just shocking. The journalists should definitely unite and stand as one against this.”
Expressing his doubts on the credibility of the lawyers present at the Patiala Court, he added, “Who are these lawyers? They behaved more like politicians. Denoting the media with such terms is just not accepted.”
NDTV India senior executive editor Ravish Kumar said, “It is good to see journalists showing solidarity and coming together but the problem is that there are still many journalists who have not united to fight against this. What happened yesterday in the premise of a court is shocking. It is the right of any person to get a lawyer. The terrorists also get lawyers and the lawyers have taken up such cases in the past. The problem is that the lawyers have started to behave like judges. They should follow the ethics taught to them in their law schools.”
CNN-IBN executive editor Bhupendra Chaubey opined, “I genuinely believe that this is a threat to the expression of one’s views in today’s politics. This type of lynch mob is dangerous and has to be tackled soon. It is good to see journalists coming together to fight this. This looks like a new definition of nationalism, which is being written now in our country. Nationalists and anti-nationalists are now defined by the ruling party but that is ideally supposed to be an individual’s decision. The way it has happened is just not acceptable.”
Earlier, the Delhi Union of Journalists had also condemned the attack at Patiala House as well as at the campus. The DUJ has given a call for observance of a Black Day on 19 February.
The Union strongly deplored the beating up of journalists, students and teachers in the Patiala House Courts by “goons.” Several of them including a few journalists were severely injured and had to be taken to the hospital.
The DUJ said it was “surprising that though there was a heavy presence of the Police, it refused to intervene despite repeated requests by those who were being beaten up.”
The DUJ demanded the immediate arrest of all those who indulged in this violence. “It is the responsibility of the police to provide protection to journalists who were discharging their duty,” it said.
Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal later said at a party briefing that a matter in this connection had been mentioned in the Supreme Court and was likely to be heard tomorrow (17 February).