Scribes celebrate court stay

JAIPUR NOV. 10. Scribes here celebrated the Supreme Court's interim verdict staying the execution of the Tamil Nadu Assembly sentence against Editors and journalists of The Hindu and Murasoli by distributing sweets.

The good news came even as dozens of journalists, wearing black badges, sat on a dharna since morning in front of the Press Club in an expression of solidarity.

The president of the Press Club, Satya Pareek, hailed the Supreme Court verdict as a reassurance of the role of the judiciary in upholding the freedom of the press.

The media organisations in Rajasthan had earlier submitted a memorandum to the Governor demanding that the President dismiss the Jayalalithaa Government "as a deterrent to anyone trying to infringe the press freedom".

The journalists had also passed a resolution at a seminar seeking an amendment to the Constitution for specific mention of the freedom of the press as a fundamental right. Mr. Pareek said the media in Rajasthan proposed to take forward the theme.

Representatives of the Rajasthan Working Journalists Union, the Journalists Association of Rajasthan, the Rajasthan Media Women's Group and various other individuals, including the Press Adviser to the Chief Minister, Govind Chaturvedi, took part in the dharna.

Journalists in Bhilwara, under the auspices of the Rajasthan Journalists Association, sat on a dharna in front of the Bhilwara Collectorate to protest against the Tamil Nadu Assembly's action.

They later submitted a memorandum to the Collector for forwarding to the President.

The former Editor of Rajasthan Patrika, Vijay Bhandari, who joined the dharna here, said though there had been many such attempts to curtail the freedom of expression in the past, the media never succumbed to pressure. "That is because the people are behind us."

Senior journalist Milap Chand Dandiya said the court stay augured well for democracy in the country.

He blamed the criminalisation of politics for the growing friction between politicians and the media. The Special Correspondent of The Hindustan Times, K.S. Tomar and president of the Rajasthan Media Women's Group, Sunita Chaturvedi, said the development such as the one in Tamil Nadu should not be ignored by the media fraternity. Such trends should be nipped in the bud.

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