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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 20, May 18, 2024

Letter to the Election Commission to protect Freedom of Press during electoral process —Editor’s Guild

Friday 17 May 2024


The Editors Guild of India

13th May 2024

The Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission of India Nirvachan Sadan
New Delhi 110001

Dear Mr Rajiv Kumar,

Greetings on behalf of the Editors Guild of India, a body committed to its objective of protecting freedom of the press in the country.

As the country is in the midst of an intensely competitive electoral contest, we are writing to draw your attention to an important issue with respect to safety and protection of journalists covering the elections. It has come to our notice that there are few reports about journalists facing heckling and at times manhandled or even subjected to physical assault during campaigns/rallies by political parties.

As the electoral battle narrows down, we urge the ECI to issue a direction to law enforcement agencies in the states where elections are still to be held, to ensure protection of journalists so that they can discharge their professional duties in a free and fair manner. We also urge you to instruct all officers and personnel on election duty, whether from the ECI itself or deputed from any other department, to be vigilant against any such incident and to take appropriate steps to ensure that journalists can freely report on this most important of all democratic exercises.

As CEC, you have always maintained that journalists are the eyes and ears of the ECI in this exercise of conducting elections. You will appreciate that such reports, even if stray, from any part of the country can create a debilitating atmosphere for journalists and inhibit fair reportage.

Thanking you,

Ananth Nath (President), Ruben Banerjee (General Secretary), K Ve Prasad (Treasurer)

Address: 4/7- A, INS Building, Rafi Marg, New Delhi-11000

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