A fact-finding committee has been set up by the Press Council of India (PCI) to look into the attack on media persons by police personnel in Hisar district during clashes that erupted at the ashram of controversial ‘godman’ Rampal.
In an order issued today, PCI chairperson Justice Markandey Katju said that he had considered reports about the attack on media persons by the police in which several journalists were beaten up and their equipment broken.
He said that he was of the “prima facie opinion that this is a violation of fundamental freedom guaranteed by Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution”.
The PCI chairman set up a four-member fact finding committee consisting of Sondeep Shankar (convenor), Kosuri Amarnath, Rajeev Ranjan Nag and Krishna Prasad.
The Committee may meet and talk with media persons, including those who were attacked or whose cameras etc were broken, journalists, organisations, managements, editors etc as well as the authorities including the police and public and others concerned, the order said.
The PCI chairperson asked the authorities in Haryana and Chandigarh to extend cooperation to the committee.
Around 200 persons persons, including security and media personnel, were injured in clashes in Barwala in Hisar district between supporters of Rampal and police.
Media crews, covering the stand off, faced the brunt of the violence that left some of them injured while cameras of many private electronic news channels were broken.