Mumbai, March 22 (IANS) Apprehending the arrest of two senior Mumbai journalists for alleged breach of privilege of the Maharashtra legislature, media groups Friday warned this could be tantamount to an attack on the press.
“There is speculation that the privileges committee (of the legislature) is moving to arrest two persons. This will be treated as an attack on the privileges and rights of a free press and the political class would be well advised to avoid a clash with the Fourth Estate,” media organisations said in a joint statement here Friday.
The statement also condemned a move by the Maharashtra legislature admitting privilege motions against two senior mediapersons – Nikhil Wagle, chief editor of IBN Lokmat, and Raju Khandekar, chief editor of ABP Majha – for their recent coverage of the assault on a policeman inside the legislature by half a dozen legislators.
The privilege motion against the two editors pertains to the coverage by their channels of the shocking incident, the Press Club, TV Journalists Association and Mumbai Marathi Patrakar Sangh said in a statement.
The organisations said that the two journalists were “merely doing their duty in reporting the heinous crime committed” by a group of legislators who severely assaulted a police officer (Sachin Suryawanshi) for having booked legislator Kshitij Thakur in a traffic offence.
The three media organisations appealed to the government and political parties to withdraw the proceedings against these senior journalists.
In a related development, Aam Admi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal has also condemned the behaviour of the legislators and has organised a sit-in agitation in south Mumbai’s Azad Maidan Friday evening.