National Press Day: Rajasthan Patrika leaves edit page blank in protest
On National Press Day on November 16, symbolic of a free and responsible press in India, Rajasthan Patrika, the national daily, left its editorial space blank to register its protest against the threat to freedom of press.
âBy leaving the editorial space blank we oppose the âblack law, the killer of democracy,â it read.
On September 7, Vasundhara Raje government passed the criminal laws (Rajasthan amendment) ordinance, 2017, which seeks to shield serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants from being investigated for on-duty action without its sanction. The ordinance also bars media from naming public servants and politicians as accused until the government sanctions the prosecution.
While speaking to exchange4media, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, former Editor of Economic and Politcal Weekly, called Rajasthan Patrikaâs decision âa good gestureâ and appealed that rest of the âmedia should also speak up and not be scared.â
Thakurta currently faces a defamation case from Adani Group for his story on how the government allegedly bent the rules for the group and was earlier slapped with legal notice for his book Gas Wars-Crony Capitalism And The Ambanis.
âSpace for free and independent press has come down, much is needed to be done to create more space for independent media,â he added.
In the World Press Freedom Index, Indiaâs rank is 136 this year which is three points down from last year.
âWhat journalists speak at press club and other places doesnât get reflected in the work because of the organisations they work with. All are bonded labourers of corporate ownership.
Earlier, also they use to say âshoot the messengerâ now they literally shoot the messenger like what happened with Gauri Lankesh. We welcome Rajasthan Patrkaâs decision,â said Seema Mustafa, Editor-in-chief, The Citizen
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