As part of their month-long agitations, journalists in Tripura held a sit-in demonstration here on Thursday to protest against Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s reported “threats to the media” last month and attacks on seven reporters in less than a month.
The agitations are being spearheaded by the Tripura Assembly of Journalists (TAJ).
Journalists from different media houses wearing placards took part in Thursday’s sit-in demonstration that lasted for nearly two hours.
On October 2, scribes in Tripura had sported black badges to protest against Deb’s reported “threats to the media” in an official function at Sabroom in southern Tripura on September 11, and attacks on more than seven mediapersons in less than a month.
Demanding withdrawal of the Chief Minister’s alleged “threats to the media”, representatives of TAJ, a body comprising editors and working journalists, recently met Governor Ramesh Bais seeking his intervention.
A delegation of TAJ also met the acting Director General of Police Rajiv Singh on Tuesday and requested him to take actions against the offenders who attacked the journalists.
TAJ Chairman and veteran editor Subal Kumar Dey said that after the Chief Minister’s alleged “threat”, more than seven journalists were attacked in different parts of Tripura, but the police did not take any action against the attackers whereas the Chief Minister remained silent.
Demanding withdrawal of the comments made by the Chief Minister, Dey said that they would send a detailed memorandum to the Prime Minister, Home Minister, Information and Broadcasting Minister, Press Council of India and various other rights bodies, both in the country and abroad.
“We would continue our agitations until the Chief Minister publicly seeks apology for the threat to the media,” Dey added.
The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) has, however, claimed that Deb’s comments were taken out of context.
An official of the CMO said that the present state government in Tripura is committed to freedom of press, rights of the media and the welfare of the journalists.
“During the lockdown period, the government had arranged vehicles for transporting newspapers to various districts and sub-divisions, increased the journalists’ pension from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000, provided financial aid to newspaper hawkers, among other welfare initiatives to support the media. But a section of the media is now trying to malign the image of the government by exaggerating facts,” the official said.
He said the Chief Minister during a recent meeting with the local television channel owners had categorically stated that his government is always supportive of the media and journalists.