Two journalists, Sagun Gawde (Sunaparant) and Sameer Bhat (Prudent Media) were threatened, manhandled and restrained from carrying out their duties at Balli on Wednesday when they were covering the agitation called by United Tribals Associations Alliance.
Both the journalists were present at the Adarsh Society building when goons set it on fire and the goons restrained them from carrying out their duties of covering the incident.
While Gawde who is a photojournalist, was manhandled by the goons and restrained from taking any photographs, Bhat was restrained from going to the site to record the events.
Goa Union of Journalists (GUJ) has strongly condemned this act and demanded action against the police officials who remained mute spectators while journalists were being manhandled by goondas.
GUJ President Pandurang Gaonkar in a press statement has urged Chief Minister Digambar Kamat to stop paying lip service to freedom of media and take concrete actions to ensure that they can work freely without any duress.
He also pointed out that the special jackets promised for journalists to enable them to be identified in crowds, have not yet been provided even though the Chief Minister is now promising media centres.
He also pointed out that no headway has been made in the recent case wherein Gary Azavedo, a journalist was abducted by henchmen of a mining firm.
Gaonkar called upon the new Director General of Police who has asked the media’s help in cleansing Goa of crime, to also instill responsibility in his police force to permit media persons to work freely and protect them whenever required as in Balli.
“The incident is serious as two persons were killed and journalists were prevented from carrying out their duties,” he said.
Photo Journalists Association, Goa Also Condemns: The Photo Journalist’s Association Goa (PJAG) also strongly condemned the attack and severely criticized the police personnel who refused to intervene to protect the journalists.
In a press statement issued by PJAG President Rajtilak Naik, he has urged Chief Minister Digambar Kamat, Home Minister Ravi Naik and Director General of Police Aditya Arya to take cognizance of the lapse on the part of the police and take action against them for dereliction of duties.