Journalist Bodies Condemn Attack on Nikhil Wagle, Urge Maharashtra Government to Take Action
Journalist Nikhil Wagle. Image Courtesy: Nikhil Wagle/X
New Delhi: Several prominent journalist organisations have come forward to condemn the brutal attack on senior journalist Mr Nikhil Wagle by members of a political party in Pune on February 9.
In recent years, attacks on journalists in India have become alarmingly common, reflecting a worrying trend of intolerance towards the media's role in upholding democratic values and freedom of expression. Journalist Nikhil Wagle and two others were assaulted by alleged Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers at Khandoji Baba Chowk in Pune on February 9. This comes after an FIR was filed against Wagle for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader LK Advani after the Central government awarded the latter Bharat Ratna.
In a joint statement, Gautam Lahiri, President of the Press Club of India, along with representatives from the Indian Women's Press Corps and the Press Association, underscored the urgent need for accountability and justice in this matter.
The organisations expressed their shock and outrage, emphasising that the escalation of violence against journalists is deeply concerning and detrimental to the fabric of democracy. They stressed the importance of fostering an environment where differing opinions, especially in politics, are respected and subject to constructive dialogue rather than violent reprisal.
Furthermore, the journalist organisations called for the withdrawal of severe charges brought against Mr Wagle under criminal laws, including accusations of promoting enmity, mischief, and defamation. They urged the Maharashtra government to take decisive action against the perpetrators of the attack, emphasising that impunity for such acts of violence only emboldens further assaults on press freedom.
They called upon the authorities to send a strong message that violence against journalists will not be tolerated and that those responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
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