Sunday, April 14, 2024

Press freedom at risk: Editors Guild of India denounces arrest of journalist during live broadcast in Sandeshkhali

KOLKATA, FEBRUARY 20: The Editors Guild of India has voiced serious concern over Monday’s arrest of a television journalist in Bengal while he was reporting on allegations of sexual assault in Sandeshkhali.
The Guild termed Monday’s arrest of Santu Pan, a journalist with Republic Bangla, a worrisome sign for press freedom in Bengal. This incident, it said, has renewed a nationwide debate about the state of journalistic freedom.
Pan was in the midst of reporting on alleged sexual assaults in Sandeshkhali when he was abruptly taken into custody by the police. The live footage, widely shared across social media platforms, captured the moment when the journalist was forcibly taken away by heavily armed officers at the Sandeshkhali ferry terminal.
“The arrest of Mr. Santu Pan, while he was reporting live on television, is worrisome and represents a disturbing trend of impeding the media’s work”, stated the Guild. Emphasising the importance of a balanced approach to law enforcement, Editors Guild points out in their statement, “While the police should investigate any allegations, taking a journalist away while reporting disrupts not only his work but also the public’s right to information.” The body also urged the West Bengal administration to conduct a swift inquiry into the matter to protect press freedom.
Pan, who was released this morning, has reported being coerced into signing 3 documents without being given the opportunity to read them. Pan highlighted the lack of due process following his arrest, noting that he was not subjected to a medical examination, a standard procedure meant to ensure the well-being of detainees.
(Courtesy: TT)