Continuing their agitation against Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s controversial comments on media, Tripura journalists body on Thursday held a sit-in demonstration in Agartala and reiterated its demand that the CM withdraw his remarks.
Last month, CM Biplab, while describing his government’s steps to contain the pandemic, had stated he would not “forgive” certain “over-excited” newspapers for creating “confusion” regarding Covid-19. Staging strong protests over his “threats”, the journalists had served a three-day deadline for the CM to withdraw his comments. Although he did not retract his comments, CM Biplab said he did not mean to threaten anyone in his speech.
Tripura Assembly of Journalists (TAJ), a forum for protection of journalists in the state, criticised the Biplab Deb-led government in the state and termed as “alarming” a report on media freedom they procured from all eight districts.
“Journalists serving in districts and sub-divisional levels are working under severe pressure. No govt official wants to speak to media due to gag issued by the government,” TAJ chairperson Subal Kumar Dey said. He also claimed that a cloud of fear is chasing journalists despite the CM promising full freedom to media.
Protesting journalists said that at least 17 journalists were assaulted in last 2.5 years and added that the agitation would continue till the demands are fulfilled. The TAJ chairperson said their agitation has received support and solidarity from international media community including the European Journalist Union, Bangladesh Sangbadik Sangha, Editor’s Guild, Dhaka Jatiyo Sangbad Sangha, Indian Newspaper Society, among others.
Earlier, journalists had met Governor RK Bais seeking his intervention on the issue and held protest by donning black ribbons on Gandhi Jayanti. TAJ also wrote to PM Modi, Home Minister Shah and the PCI, stating the at least six journos were assaulted since the CM’s comments and that no headway has been made in the investigation despite lodging several complaints.
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