GUWAHATI: Journalists in Assam today demanded a national legislation for their protection in view of the rising incidents of physical assaults on their fraternity, besides killings.
In a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Journalist Association of Assam demanded enactment of a law protecting journalists as in Assam "at least one journalist has been fatally attacked every year during the past 14 years for refusing to file report as per the instructions of either the terrorists or the police".
"In Assam our members have rejected the demand of both militants and the authorities to report as dictated by either party even as many were silenced by the practitioners of the gun culture", said the memorandum sent through Kamrup (Metro) Deputy Commissioner. "Reporters, cameramen and other media personnel are always exposed to vandalism and physical assaults by groups feigning victimization."
"The police do not intervene in time or effectively—more often they reach the spot long after the occurrence despite getting informed," it said. The journalists also demanded medical benefits, life insurance coverage and pension. Besides, they demanded constitution of a Media Council to help, guide and make the fourth estate strong and ethical "keeping in view the present media situation, the unhealthy trends in both the print and electronic media and the new challenges of the on line media as well as the emerging trends in various sections of society impacted by the media".
The Association also demanded for journalists full concession in railways and state buses in Assam, housing facility and land to homeless journalists on seniority basis, implementation of Wage Board, security of services among others.