Will send fact finding teams to some states: Katju

Last Updated: Friday, February 3, 2012 - 16:43

New Delhi: Concerned over large number of
complaints related to violation of freedom of the press from
some of the states, Press Council Chairperson Justice
Markandey Katju on Friday said that he would send fact finding
teams to ascertain the ground situation there.

"Since I feel that this freedom is under threat in many
states I intend to send Fact Finding Teams to some of the
states from where we are getting a large number of such
complaints," Katju said.

"I have sought the opinion of the Members of the Press
Council in this connection," he said in a statement released
here.

He listed physical assaults on journalists or media
establishments by various government agencies and
organisations, withholding advertisements of news papers which
were critical of the government and other methods like threats
being employed to silence media.

"I have already issued strong letters to the Chief
Ministers of J&K, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh in this
connection," he wrote.

Katju said that he had also sent a letter to the Chief
Minister of West Bengal objecting to the new rules regarding
accreditation of journalists, some of which are likely to
adversely affect the freedom of the press.

Katju said that the Freedom of Speech and Expression was
a guaranteed right under Article 19(1) (a) of the
Constitution.

"Under Section 13(1) of the Press Council Act, 1978, it
is the duty of the Press Council to preserve the freedom of
the Press," Katju said.

"I have been receiving reports from several quarters in
several states that the freedom of the Press is in various
ways being imperilled," Katju said.

In the statement, Katju said that violation of the
constitutional right to freedom of the press will not be
tolerated by the Press Council.

"A serious view and strong action will be taken by the
Press Council whenever and wherever this right is infringed,"
Katju said in the statement.

Copies of the statement were also marked to The Chief
Ministers, Chief Secretaries, Secretaries of Information
Departments of all states and Union Territories.

Katju`s statement was also marked to the Union
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni and the
Secretary of I&B Ministry Uday Kumar Varma in addition to
Members of Press Council.

PTI



First Published: Friday, February 3, 2012 - 16:43

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