The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National Union of Journalists – India (NUJI) in strongly criticizing the attack on journalists from a local television channel by local police in Bhubaneswar, Odisha of India on Monday.
According to reports, Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel brutally attacked reporter, Stayajit Sena and cameraperson, Sankarshan Patra from Kanak TV and detained them for five hours after they filmed RPF action against protesters at a local railway station. Passengers were protesting delays by sitting on the tracks and blocking trains from departing.
A local RPF team used force to remove the protesters from the track during which they were filmed mistreating the female protesters. The RPF team then snatched Patra’s camera, took out cassette before attacking Patra and Sena, and detaining them.
The journalists were released only after local journalists and the public intervened, protesting the arrest, however the videocassette was not returned. The RPF later suspended the official in-charge of the team responsible for the attack.
Prasanna Mohanty, the secretary general of NUJI, said in a statement: “There should be a high level enquiry of the incident. Recent series of incidents against journalists is a clear indicator that the fourth pillar in India is at the threat.”
The NUJI and IFJ have reiterated its demands to enact Journalist Protection Act.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemn this incident calling on authorities to immediately investigate the case. India’s media has come under serious threat in recent weeks and action needs to be taken to ensure the situation does not deteriorate further.”
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