Responding to the multiple cases of police stopping journalists from reporting in different parts of the country since the 21-day lockdown came into effect, the Editors Guild of India has said police needs to be reminded by the governments that journalists provide an essential service and are exempted.
The Guild also said there should be regular minister-level briefings where the media gets the opportunity to ask questions.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the Guild said, “The job of the police is not to impede journalists’ work, especially under current circumstances, but to facilitate their functioning. The State and Union Territory governments and the police also need to be reminded that media has been exempted as an essential service under the current lockdown guidelines of the Union Home Ministry.”
It noted “with concern that high-handed and arbitrary police action has obstructed many journalists from reporting on the coronavirus outbreak in many parts of the country”.
“Such action is self-defeating when media freedoms are critically important for covering the outbreak and the state response,” the Guild stated.
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