The Editors Guild of India on Friday said it was “shocked and outraged” about a journalist and seven others being forced to strip down to their undergarments in police custody in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi town.
The press body said that the “increasing tendency of the police and local administration to brazenly attack and intimidate journalists is extremely disturbing”. It added that these actions needed to be checked.
“The inhumane manner in which journalists, stringers, and district reporters are often treated by the police, in an effort to suppress any independent reporting is a matter of grave concern,” the Editors Guild said.
The journalist was humiliated by police in Madhya Pradesh on April 2. The reporter, who was identified as Kanishk Tiwari, was covering a protest against the arrest of a theatre artist named Neeraj Kunder.
The person in-charge of the police station was suspended and the station house officer was removed from field duties.
The Editors Guild of India also condemned an alleged assault on a journalist in Odisha’s Balasore district.
“On April 7, police in the Balasore district chained a journalist’s leg to a hospital bed after an alleged case of assault,” the press body said. “The journalist, Loknath Delai, though has claimed that he was arrested in response to his reporting of corruption by the police and various irregularities in their affairs.”
According to the Hindustan Times, Delai’s news report pertained to the police’s alleged failure to curb brown sugar smuggling.
The press body has urged the Union Home Ministry to look into these incidents.
“The Editors Guild of India urges the Union Home Ministry to take immediate cognisance of police excesses against journalists and civil society members, and issue stern directions to all levels of law enforcement agencies to respect democratic values and freedom of the press,” it added. “At the same time, strict action needs to be taken against those who misuse state power.”