Special Correspondent

Militants’ threats worry Press Council

Says no restrictions should be imposed on the media

Appeals to militant organisations to respect the media

NEW DELHI: The Press Council of India on Friday urged the governments of Assam and Manipur to take steps to ensure that the media in the two States is able to function free of its fear of threats from militant organisations as well as the pressure of law enforcing agencies.

The council said no restrictions or pre-censorship should be imposed on the media in the name of fighting militancy. At the same time, it urged the media in the north-eastern States not to eulogise the outlawed ultra organisations and their violent activities.

Stating that compromising with the outlawed outfits never ensured the safety and security of mediapersons — “rather it attracts more troubles” — the Press Council suggested that the media strictly adhere to its guidelines vis-À-vis coverage of news relating to militants.

Concerned over the threats to the media from the outlawed/militant organisations in the two States, the council appointed a three-member committee in February this year to assess the situation. Accepting the report of the committee, the council at its last meeting in Goa urged the governments to immediately withdraw the measures that penalised the media for carrying statements/threats issued by the outlawed/militant organisations and build an atmosphere where freedom of the media was respected by all.

The council also issued an appeal to the militant organisations to respect the media and desist from attacking it. Asserting that it was the duty of the two State governments to provide security to the media and ensure a proper environment for its functioning, the council sought special incentives to mediapersons working on perilous assignments.