The Editors Guild of India on Sunday expressed concern at the Rajasthan government’s move to make the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017 into law.
The state government has said it plans to make the ordinance, promulgated last month, into an Act. In a release, the Guild said while the ordinance was promulgated ostensibly “to protect the judiciary and the bureaucracy against false FIRs”, “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”.
“Rather than taking stern measures to prevent and punish those who indulge in frivolous or false litigation, the Rajasthan government has passed an ordinance that is bent on bludgeoning the messenger. While the Guild has always stood for fair, balanced and responsible reporting of FIRs filed in courts of law, it believes that the remedy being employed by the Rajasthan government is draconian and gives it untrammelled power to even imprison journalists for reporting matters of public interest,” the guild said, requesting Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje to withdraw the ordinance and “prevent any Act from being passed that would endanger the freedom of the press”.