The fourth pillar of democracy is in danger. In yet another incident a female journalist was misbehaved by guards while she was on duty, doing her job–showing the plea of helpless patients at Civil Hospital, Asarwa in Gujarat.
Mansi Patel, a young journalist of Mantavya News was denied permission to enter the Civil Hospital on Thursday noon. She was asked to take permission to enter a public facility while she was reporting on the helpless patients in the OPD and emergency section who paid the price of the government’s unfavourable approach towards junior doctors of the city. Doctors are on strike for the past nine days.
Vibes of India stands with fellow journalists and the freedom of the Press. Attack on one journalist is an attack on the fourth pillar of democracy.
When we approached Patel, she said, “Patients of the Civil Hospital was requesting me to highlight their condition. But the hospital authorities had asked the guards to not allow media inside the premises and thus, keep the whole issue undercover. I even called the hospital superintendent JV Modi but he didn’t answer my calls. When we were at the entrance the guards tried to harm our cameramen, damage his device.”
“When I questioned the guards on this misbehaviour, three of these male guards grabbed me by my arms and pushed me out of the hospital. When I tried entering the hospital male guards took me by my arms and misbehaved. Such is the sorry state of women journalists in our state. I was just doing my job and I had to pay a price for raising the right questions.” Patel added.
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Deepak Rajani, Channel Head, Mantavya News wrote to Health Minister of Gujarat, Nitin Patel; Health secretary Manoj Agarwal and Commissioner of Health, Medical services and medical education Jai Prakash Shivhare. A copy of the letter was also sent to Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Sanjay Srivastava.
Rajani said, “If this can happen to our journalist it can happen to any journalist. The guards misbehaved with a female journalist when she was entering public premises and this is wrong on all levels. When we wrote to authorities the guards apologised to the journalist but by then the damage was already done. As media fraternity, this is our time to unite and raise voices against those silencing our freedom of speech, freedom of the press.”
Enduring issue of crime against journalists
It’s not even a month to Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui who was killed in Afghanistan’s Kandahar during clashes between its fighters and Afghan forces. The question of journalists and their safety is a pressing issue in the nation. Pegasus spyware and the scrutiny of journalists pursuing stories critical to the ruling party is another weapon used against the journalists who are merely doing their job. “Press freedom is difficult in the nation because of the constant need to control the narrative. This kind of harassment is unjustified and uncalled for.” Rajani concluded.