Press freedom is in tatters under BJP: Stalin

Chennai: Governor R N Ravi, Chief Minister M K Stalin and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Edappadi K Palaniswami were among those who conveyed their greetings on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on Friday with Stalin flagging the low ranking for India in the Press Freedom Index under BJP rule.

“On #WorldPressFreedomDay, let's confront the harsh reality: under BJP rule, India's press freedom is in tatters,’ Stalin said in his message on X, referring to ‘the murders of journalists like Gauri Lankesh and Kalburgi, along with constant intimidation of journalists like Siddique Kappan, Rana Ayyub, and many others who dare to speak truth to power.’

The BJP rule painted a sorry picture for press freedom, he said, adding: ‘As we celebrate the role of the press in democracy, let's reaffirm our commitment to upholding the values of free speech and ensuring journalists can work without fear or oppressive censorship.’

The Governor’s message on X said, ‘Let’s unite to combat the increasing menace of fake news and misinformation, ensuring a more resilient and informed society.’

Extending his warmest greetings to the media fraternity, Ravi said press freedom was vital for successful democracy, the bedrock of which was an informed citizenry and transparent governance.

‘Our press upholds high standards of professionalism, playing crucial roles in strengthening our democracy and contributing to the well-being of our people and development of our nation,’ he said.

Palaniswami, in his message, said press freedom should ensure that media persons expressed their basic rights. He hailed journalists as those who formed the fourth pillar of democracy and as those who revealed the truth.

Stalin, in another statement released to the media, said World Press Day was being observed since 1993 to raise awareness on the importance of Freedom of Press, enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The UN announced March 3 as World Press Day to mark the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists at Windhoek in Namibia in 1991, he said, adding that in Tamil Nadu press freedom was well protected.

Listing out the several measures taken by the DMK government for the welfare of media persons ever since it took office in 2021, starting with the government recognizing journalists as frontline workers and extending financial assistance.

The setting up of a journalists welfare board with 3,223 members, the institution of the annual award for journalists in the name of M Karunanidhi with a prize money of Rs 5 lakh were among the many things that he mentioned.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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