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Assembly of Journalists (AoJ), a body of media in Tripura, expressed serious concern over the growing attacks on media persons in last three years after BJP-led government came to power in the Northeast state.

Although police registered complaints of criminal atrocities on media and journalists, the incidences of infringement of rights of media by resorting to economic blockade on a large number of media houses and undermining the privileges of journalists in last three years by illegal actions of administration have no redress, alleged AoJ president and veteran editor Subal Kumar Dey.

While appreciating the police on the progress of investigation of the cases registered after the attacks on media in last 16 months, Dey urged the authority to ensure speedy completion of investigation and bring the perpetrators of media into trial and ensure exemplary punishment.

In a statement, police said that since January 2020 a total of 24 cases of journalists facing attack in different parts of the state were registered as of now. Indicating the increasing trend of attacks on journalists, the statement said at least seven cases of attacks on media have been registered in last five months.

“The Tripura director general of police reviewed the progress of investigation into the media related cases with the district SPs through a video conference yesterday. During the discussion, it has been found that 17 cases were registered in 2020 and seven were registered in this year so far. Out of 24 cases registered, 16 cases have ended in chargesheet, three cases were compromised by the parties involved while the remaining five cases are still under investigation,” the statement mentioned.

In some of these cases in which victims were not able to identify the miscreants, all out efforts were made by police to identity and consequently more than 15 persons were identified during investigation and the chargesheet was completed, the statement claimed. It added that the investigation of cases was carried out purely on merit and evidence and arrests were made in cases where the punishment was more than seven years as per law.

The police also said that there is no separate law to deal with cases of journalists and hence only codified procedure was followed in all these cases. No journalists ever complained about proper registration of cases or their investigations, the statement added.

However, AoJ alleged that after chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s “open threat” to media on September 11 last year, the government became vindictive against the media outlets which have been seeking apology and withdrawal of CM’s threat. The government stopped advertising to the media, demoting the categories and stopped the broadcast of TV channels, which criticized the government, the AoJ said.

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