Congress distances itself from media bill
proposed by own MP
Tuesday distanced itself from a bill on media regulation proposed
by Meenakshi Natarajan, a Lok Sabha MP and an aide of party
general secretary Rahul Gandhi, even as Press Council of India
chairman Markandey Katju accused the media of diverting interest
from national issues.
Violence and censorship against mediapersons are a "threat" to
democracy and also constrains their ability to operate freely, an
international body of journalists said Wednesday.
The Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) also condemned
state repression against media in countries like Pakistan and Sri
"Without a free press and freedom of expression, governments can
impose bad policy and abuse power with impunity," said Rita Payne,
president of CJA, underlining the consensus at a meet on 'Threats
Violence and censorship remains an everyday threat for many
journalists and such constraints their ability to operate, the CJA
said in a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day May 3.
"The CJA unanimously condemns instances of state repression
against media reported out of Pakistan, Sri Lanka and some African
member states of the Commonwealth," Payne said.
"With some Commonwealth countries, including India and Pakistan
resisting a draft UN Action Plan on safety of journalists, the CJA
warned that democracy itself is under threat due to constraints on
the ability of journalists to operate," she added.
Putting action to words, the CJA has endorsed the Table Mountain
Declaration, aimed at abolishing criminal defamation and promoting
a free press in Africa.
In 2011, 179 journalists were imprisoned worldwide, up from 145
the previous year while another 67 were killed last year; 17 more
so far this year. They were murdered, killed on dangerous
assignments or died in crossfire, Payne said.
Pakistan is rated among the most dangerous countries in the world
for journalists. South Africa has enacted strict censorship
measures that limit reporting on corruption and attempt to control
The CJA's efforts are global, with its branches in Pakistan,
Sarawak, Uganda, Cameroon, India and Britain among those holding
educational workshops and awareness-raising events to mark World
Press Freedom Day.
"It is time for all Commonwealth countries to uphold the same
values of a civil society. The onus here is on governments. Press
freedom and freedom of speech must be protected and promoted,"