Journalists’ bodies condemn notices to TV channels on Yakub hanging

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Six journalists’ bodies have condemned the information and broadcasting ministry for its show-cause notice to TV channels over coverage of Yakub Memon’s hanging, saying it is an attempt to intimidate the media.

The organisations, including the Press Club of India and the Indian Women’s Press Corps, condemned the notice in a joint statement.

“The Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Mumbai Press Club, Guwahati Press Club, Brihadmumbai Union of Journalists and Delhi Union of Journalists condemn the government’s attempt to intimidate the media by issuing show-cause notices to three leading TV channels, ABP News, NDTV 24×7 and Aaj Tak, for their coverage of Yakub Memon’s hanging,” said the statement.

It termed as “shameful” that cable TV rules have been invoked to question the right of the media to air views or do stories that run contrary to the decisions of the government and the Supreme Court on capital punishment in general and Memon’s case in particular.

“We are shocked that the Information and Broadcasting ministry is party to such an assault on free speech,” it said, adding that the action “betrays an insecurity and intolerance on the part of the government”.

The journalists’ bodies urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene immediately and withdraw the notices issued in the context of Yakub’s hanging.

“The government should respect the media’s responsibility to reflect diverse opinions, even on sensitive issues such as death penalty, national security and communal harmony. The fact that Yakub’s funeral went off peacefully nails the suggestion in the show-cause notices that the media reports in question had stoked trouble and incited violence,” it said.

The statement was issued by Nadeem Kazmi (Press Club of India), T.K. Rajalakshmi (Indian Women’s Press Club), Jatin Desai (Mumbai Press Club), Nava Thakuria (Guwahati Press Club), Sujata Madhok (Delhi Union of Journalists) , Geeta Seshu (Brihadmumbai Union of Journalists).

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