Feb 26, 2020: Saluting Delhi’s Gutsy Riot Reporters…… The National alliance of Journalists(NAJ) and the Delhi Union of Journalists(DUJ) , in a joint statement today, salutes the intrepid young reporters and camerapersons who have covered the Delhi riots for the past three days, risking their own safety. The body calls upon its members to be ready for observing a peaceful black day on Monday, if no action is taken by the concerned authorities against those guilty of attacking journalists on duty.
The statement by NAJ President S.K. Pande DUJ General Secretary Sujata Madhok and NAJ Secretary General N. Kondaiah, noted that several journalists have been attacked and injured by rampaging mobs and the police and other authorities behaved as silent spectators.
The statement expresses deep pain and anguish at the communalisation of the city, the growing number of deaths and injuries and the destruction of property and places of worship.
Among the several journalists injured are Akash Napa of the JK 24X7 TV channel who was shot at and had to be hospitalised, Arvind Gunasekar of NDTV who lost three teeth and was saved from a worse fate by his colleagues. Saurabh Shukla, Mariam Alvi, Sushil Rathee of NDTV and Runjhun Sharma of News 18, Akshay Kumar Dongare and Tanushree Pandey of Aaj Tak were also attacked. Parvina Purkayastha of ‘Times Now’ and many others were threatened by mobs armed with lathis among some others.
Reporters were repeatedly asked their names and religions, were told to stop videographing the rioters, their phones were checked and videos and photos deleted. We are proud that so many reported objectively, despite the bias of some, particularly several TV anchors, bosses and employers. We commend them for their dedicated spot reportage. We commend journalists like ‘Mirror Now’ reporter Alok, who repeatedly urged the reluctant police to rush in and save a youth from being killed by a mob, actions clearly shown on the channel.
We demand 1) the Delhi Police provide adequate security to all reporters on the ground. 2) Full compensation for injured journalists and their equipments. 3) Suo-moto action by the Press Council of India and other watch dog bodies, in view of the continuing attacks on the journalists.4) We urge reporters to as far as possible try to go out in larger teams for safety.
At the same time we caution against fake news and attempts to further communalise the situation by hate speeches and their over coverage.