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Journalists pitch for organising legal aid for colleagues facing FIRs

New Delhi, July 04 (KMS): Senior journalists on Monday suggested organising legal aid in different cities for media persons who have been a target of a plethora of FIRs and raids by the Enforcement Directorate.

The suggestion was made at a meeting organised by the Press Club of India to discuss the challenges faced by the media in the wake of the arrest of Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, stopping Pulitzer winner photojournalist, Sanaa Matoo from flying out of the country and restrictions on journalists on covering government events.

Speaking at the event, veteran journalist T N Ninan said holding meetings and issuing statements are not enough and there is a need for different media associations to speak in one voice. “We need to agree on the basics of press freedom,” Ninan said, adding that there is a need to organise legal aid for journalists facing FIRs.

He suggested setting up a panel of lawyers in different cities to take up cases against journalists.

Senior journalists Siddharth Varadarajan, Sandeep Sonkar, Shobhana Jain and S K Pande spoke at the meeting.

“The plethora of FIRs against many of our colleagues in the recent past and the Enforcement Directorate raids in media offices send an ominous signal to the future of the profession as a whole,” a resolution adopted at the meeting said.

“The arrest of the Alt News co-founder on what we understand is based on exaggerated and trumped up charges. On the other hand, those who actually make hate speeches are moving around freely,” it said.

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