APUWJ, APC, AEMA condemn the manhandling of journalists in Itanagar during recent agitation against PRC issue.
The Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ), the Arunachal Press Club (APC) and the Arunachal Electronic Media Association (AEMA) held a meeting on Sunday here at the Arunachal Press Club and took strong exception to the misconduct by both security forces and protesters against journalists on field duty during the recent anti-PRC agitation in the capital Complex.
While reporters on ground were very much aware of the sentiments and situation at that time, and made overt attempts to identify themselves to both the protestors and the security personnel, unfortunately, several reporters were not only verbally abused but were also manhandled.
The APUWJ, APC and AEMA took note of incidents wherein security personnel snatched cameras, mobile phones, memory card from reporters. Some of the items were destroyed in front of on-duty magistrates even after the reporter identified themselves. Others were reportedly beaten by the security forces even as they produced their identification cards.
Even as on-field reporters took utmost care not to agitate the protesters, there were instances wherein agitators took to heckling and attacking journalists.
The unidentified miscreants hurled a bottle at a reporter that hit her neck and shattered on impact. The shattered glass not only hurt her neck and shoulder area, but also cut her hands and feet. In another case, the scooter of a media person was snatched away despite producing the identification card. He is yet to get back the scooter.
While it is understood and repeatedly announced that journalists are exempted from the purview of bandhs and protests, several reporters had to abandon their vehicles and producing identification cards was seen as futile effort.
Condemning the unruly behaviour of the agitators, APUWJ, APC and AEMA called on organisations to educate their activists on how to behave with the media, or cautioned that action will be taken against such organisations.
The APUWJ, APC and AEMA understand that magistrates and police personnel work under extreme pressure, but it does not justify their act of destroying property and manhandling journalists even after identification.
It also needs to be mentioned that the internet shutdown had caused some delay in disseminating information digitally, but several television channels were broadcasting and a few newspapers were also publishing in whatever way possible to provide information to the public.
The members of APUWJ, APC and AEMA warned of non cooperation if similar incidents happen to the media persons in future.