Delhi Union of Journalists Calls for Urgent Action to Defend Press Freedom in India
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New Delhi: Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) has urged the Indian government to defend journalism and stop attacks on the media on the occasion of the 30th World Press Freedom Day. The DUJ has called upon the government to respect press freedom and professional ethics and has asked the Centre to revoke laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), repeatedly used against journalists and citizens. The DUJ has expressed concern about the country's sharp decline in the World Press Freedom Index, from 150 in 2022 to 161 out of 180 countries in 2023.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has warned that media polarisation is fueling divisions within and between countries at the international level. The DUJ has accused the corporate media or "godi media" of pledging total support to the current government and the Hindutva agenda of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) while ignoring news about corporate corruption, protests by farmers and workers, people's issues and issues raised by the opposition.
The DUJ has raised concern over attacks on independent media and journalists, ranging from intimidation to physical and legal attacks that misuse the law. The DUJ has asked the Centre to stop implementing Labour Codes that have subsumed the Working Journalists Act, which has played a pivotal role in protecting the freedom of the press. The DUJ has urged the Centre to immediately announce a new tripartite Wage Board for the entire industry and a special law to protect media persons and the entire media.
On this World Press Freedom Day, the DUJ has called upon all journalists to collectively defend the freedom of the press and the dignity of labour for journalists. “On this World Press Freedom Day, we ask the Centre to stop attacks on the media. We urge Parliament and the Judiciary to strike down sedition and defamation laws that are repeatedly used against journalists and other citizens. We ask that draconian laws like UAPA and PMLA be revised urgently. Parliament must review the new rules for digital media that will strike the death knell for independent media,” The statement read.
The DUJ has highlighted the importance of the media's role in a democratic society and has urged the government to respect and protect this role.
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