Journalists March to Rajasthan Assembly Against New Ordinance

The ordinance is a “pernicious instrument” to harass the media, the Guild said.

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Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. 
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On Tuesday, journalists marched to the Rajasthan Assembly in protest against the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance which seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on-duty action, without its prior sanction.

The Editors Guild of India and Broadcast Editors’ Association (BEA) have asked the Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan government to “withdraw the harmful ordinance” that bars the media from reporting on accusations against public servants, judges and magistrates without its sanction.

The ordinance is a “pernicious instrument” to harass the media, the Guild said in a statement on 22 October.

The ordinance promulgated by the state government last month was ostensibly done to protect the judiciary and the bureaucracy against false FIRs. But in reality it is a pernicious instrument to harass the media, hide wrongful acts by government servants and drastically curb the freedom of the press guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
Editors Guild of India

The Rajasthan government had last month promulgated The Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017, that seeks to protect serving and former judges, magistrates and public servants in the state from being investigated for on-duty action, without its prior sanction.

It bars the media from reporting on such accusations till the sanction to proceed with the probe is granted by the government.

The BEA said that the ordinance “also aims to gag free speech... Such restrictions are detrimental to our right to report and to free speech guaranteed by our Constitution. The BEA demands Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to revoke its government's ordinance forthwith.”

It suggested that the state administration rather “strengthen measures to discourage false and frivolous litigation”.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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