The Chhattisgarh government on Monday appointed retired Supreme Court judge Aftab Alam as the head of a panel formed to draft a bill for the protection of journalists in the state.
Alam’s appointment comes months after the Congress returned to power in the state in December. In its election manifesto, the Congress had promised to bring a law for the protection of journalists.
The Chhattisgarh government’s public relations director, Taran Prakash Sinha, said Alam will head the committee formed to formulate the Journalists Security Bill.
Officials familiar with the matter said names of other members of the committee, which will include senior journalists, activists, and human rights defenders, are yet to be decided.
Maharashtra enacted a law for the protection of journalists in 2017, which provides for punishment for violence against journalists, damage to their property and that of media organisations.
Santosh Yadav, a journalist, was arrested in October 2015 on suspected links with Maoist leader, Shankar, in Chhattisgarh’s Bastar. Journalists marched to the chief minister’s house in Raipur in protest against the arrest of Yadav, who was later released on bail.
In 2018, another Bastar-based journalist, Kamal Shukla, was booked under the sedition law for allegedly posting a cartoon lampooning the country’s judiciary and government on Facebook. Kamal was later released on bail.
Mar 12, 2021 00:02 IST