Amaravathi: The Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the manhandling of media persons and vandalising of press vehicles by unruly protestors and security personnel during the recent unrest that broke out in the twin capital cities of Itanagar and Naharlagun over the permanent resident certificate (PRC) issue.
In its two-day National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held at K L University, Amaravathi in Andhra Pradesh, the IJU executive members on Sunday sought from the state authority to ensure safety and security of media persons in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Earlier, a two-point resolution on media atrocities was placed by the Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ), affiliated to IJU, on the second day of the NEC meeting which began on March 2 this year.
Several media persons have been subjected to manhandling, heckling, and damage of media equipment and vehicles either by the unruly protesters or the security personnel while covering the recent violence that erupted in protest against proposal of grant of PRC to Non-APSTs by the state government.
Fortunately, none of the scribes sustained grievous injuries, except for the Arunachal Today CEO, who got injured when unruly protesters threw a bottle at her in the midst of the chaos, said APUWJ president Amar Sangno while proposing the resolution in the NEC meeting.
However, many media persons were subjected to police harassment as well. It was reported that cameras and mobile phones of several media persons were snatched away and damaged by security personnel. They also purportedly deleted all the footage of violence that was captured during the incident by the journalists, said Sangno.
The IJU and the APUWJ also condoled the death of the three youths, who lost their lives in the police firing, during the anti-PRC agitation. In its condolence message, the IJU and the APUWJ expressed their solidarity to the bereaved family.
Besides Arunachal Pradesh, the state units of Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Punjab attended the NEC meeting which was hosted by Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ).
Each state unit presented their report cards.
In his report, Sangno highlighted the activities carried out by APUWJ in the past few months in the state of Arunachal. He said that Arunachal Press Club and APUWJ have acquired 1,300 sq mt land meant for the construction of the club building from the department of Arunachal Pradesh Industrial Financial Development Corporation (APIFDC) through the nodal agency Information and Public Relation department in the heart of Itanagar, with an estimated amount of Rs 1.74 crore.
He further said that the government of Arunachal Pradesh has allocated Rs 5 crore for the press club building construction.
“Finding a suitable land for the press club building was onerous task. Now, the remaining amount of Rs 3.25 crore will be used in APC building construction and land development that includes parking lot and protection wall,” Sangno said.
He also informed about the guidelines framed by the APC and the APUWJ for covering election-related news in the state, which was appreciated by the IJU general secretary Sabina Inderjit, who chaired the meet. Sabina urged other state units to cue from Arunachal unit when it comes to cover election related news sensibly.
In one of the resolutions adopted in the NEC meeting, the IJU demanded uniformity of pension amount for journalists across the states.
IJU advisor S Sreenivas demanded that there should be uniformity in the pension amount. He said that pension amount of Rs 15,000 should be adopted by all the state governments.
He also said that the pension scheme should be extended to all the eligible working journalists, and the eligibility criteria of 58 years, as mentioned in the IJU’s constitution, to avail the pension scheme, should be followed accordingly.
The IJU advisor also urged the state units not to confine their union activities to labour rights only, but to give equal importance to welfare measures as well. He urged the state units to conduct workshops, seminars etc. to develop the journalism profession.
The IJU also condemned the recent Pulwama terror strike at Jammu & Kashmir in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed.
Later, IJU president Amar Devullapali and Sabina led the IJU NEC team to address media persons at Vijaywada Press Club and highlighted the important resolutions taken in the meeting.