Attack on freedom
Even as we celebrate an age of expanded media freedom, efforts continue to hold it back. The attack by hooligans linked to a political party on a senior correspondent in Hyderabad, for attributing certain comments to their chief, is the latest example of this. The report had already been clarified following standard journalistic protocol in such cases. This is not the first incident of its kind. The heavy iron bars used to carry out the attack indicate it was pre-meditated. Similar assaults have taken place on media professionals and organisations in the past, with offices being set ablaze or premises ransacked.
Elements that range from land-grabbers to religious zealots have attempted to silence individuals through threats or acts of violence intended to intimidate them. It goes to the credit of press organisations that, in almost every case, they have stood up for the right to freely express an opinion and called for support from international organisations too when the need arose. Yet, despite these efforts, the fact is that the country is becoming increasingly unsafe for media professionals, with deaths and injury reported each year in the line of duty.
In this latest case, we hope the party concerned will take action against those who carried out the attack. Authorities must also act against them as a means to deter others from inflicting similar violence to stifle voices. In the past those guilty of attacking journalists have been able to get away scot-free. In some cases police or state agents have been involved themselves. These persons must be brought to justice and punished as laid down under the law of the land in order to ensure greater safety for journalists everywhere.
Source: The News