They were not given any written intimation about the intent
Around 20 journalists working for different vernacular newspapers in Assam, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have been forced to move out of an office in Eastern Court, Janpath, meant for outstation journalists.
The office, which was running in the building of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), was allotted to outstation journalists by the government in 1998. According to those working there, they were shuffled twice earlier as well. Once in the year 2004 when the UPA Government came to power and then in 2009 when it returned to power.
The office was locked up on Saturday. “I came to the office on Saturday and found it locked. When I tried to contact people from the BSNL, they told me the office has been allotted to the Vigilance Department. We were not given any written intimation about the intent to lock up the office,” said Ranjan, a journalist with an Assamese newspaper.
Another journalist from Assam, Gautam Bhattacharya, said: “We had received a notice for vacating the office last year around September after which we approached the Information and Broadcast Ministry and they allowed us to work from here. After that, we were able to work here without any hassle till they locked up the office on Saturday.”
He claimed that due to the move, they the have also been deprived of their equipment at a crucial time when election results are about to come. “Our laptops, cameras and files are all inside the office. We asked the officers to let us take our stuff at least, but they did not open the office. They told us that our things will be safe inside the office, but we cannot open the lock.”
“Every time a new government comes to power we are harassed. This time, they are doing it at a time when there is no government in place and the new government is yet to take charge. This is worse because we cannot contact any minister or government department,” said Saroj Ganpath, a journalist with a Tamil Nadu-based newspaper.
“Our office is not going to help us in anyway, they just want us to work no matter where we work from. Most of the journalists cannot even use facilities like Media Centre as they do not have a Press Information Bureau accreditation because of low circulation of their newspapers,” Mr. Ganpath added.
We have no option but to fight our own battle now, he declared.