Editors against setting up of Maha press council

Mumbai: Senior editors on Tuesday resolved to oppose "tooth and nail" the Prithviraj Chavan government's move to set up Maharashtra Press Council in the state.

Editors including Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of the Express Group, N Ram, Editor of The Hindu and Nikhil Wagle, Editor of IBNLokmat, addressing a meeting at the Press Club here, said the journalist community would oppose the move in a manner which was witnessed during the Bihar Press Bill, 1981 and Defamation Bill, 1988.

"We would oppose tooth and nail any move to introduce Maharashtra Press Council," Wagle said.

Ram said there already existed a statutory body -- the Press Council of India and there was no need for a separate Press Council for Maharashtra.

"Imagine if all states have Press Councils, what would happen?", he asked.

The editors addressed journalists at the Press Club after meeting Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan at Sahyadri Guest House here to discuss the murder of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey, frequent attack on journalists and demand for an enactment of a law to make attacks on journalists non-bailable and cognisable offence.

A proposal to support revival of the Action Committee for Protection of Journalists was also discussed.

Wagle pointed out that in the last 20 years there has been as many as 879 attacks on journalists and media houses in Maharashtra, which is perhaps the worst in any state. "The situation in rural and mofussil areas is far bad," he added.

In the last two years in Maharashtra, there has been 180 attacks on media personnel and media houses that had been documented, Ram said.