Media bodies condemn misconduct by security forces, protestors against journalists

ITANAGAR, Mar 3: The Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ), the Arunachal Press Club (APC) and the Arunachal Electronic Media Association (AEMA) held a meeting at the press club here on Sunday, and expressed strong exception to the misconduct by both security forces and protesters against journalists on field duty during the recent anti-PRC agitation in the capital.
While the reporters on ground were very much aware of the sentiments and the situation at that time and clearly identified themselves to both the protestors and the security personnel, several reporters were not only verbally abused but were also manhandled.
The APUWJ, the APC and the AEMA took note of incidents in which security personnel snatched cameras, mobile phones and memory cards from reporters. Some of the items were destroyed in front of on-duty magistrates even after the reporters had identified themselves. Others were reportedly beaten up by security forces even though they had produced their identification cards.
Even as on-field reporters took utmost care not to agitate the protesters, there were instances in which agitators took to heckling and attacking journalists. Unidentified miscreants hurled a bottle at a reporter, which hit her neck and shattered on impact. The shattered glass not only hurt her neck and shoulder but also cut her hands and feet. In another case, the scooter of a media person was snatched away, despite his producing his identification card. He is yet to get back the scooter.
While it is understood and repeatedly announced that journalists are exempted from the purview of bandhs and protests, several reporters had to abandon their vehicles, and producing identification cards became a futile effort.
Condemning the unruly behaviour of the agitators, the APUWJ, the APC and the AEMA called on organisations to educate their activists on how to behave with the media, and cautioned that the organisation concerned will be held responsible for any untoward incident against journalists, and action will be initiated against the organisation.
The APUWJ, the APC and the AEMA understand that magistrates and police personnel work under extreme pressure, but it does not justify their act of destroying properties and manhandling journalists even after the journalists have identified themselves.
It also needs to be mentioned that the internet shutdown had caused some delay in disseminating information digitally, but several television channels were broadcasting and a few newspapers were also publishing in whatever way possible to provide information to the public.
The members of the APUWJ, the APC and the AEMA have warned of non-cooperation if similar incidents happen to media persons in the future.