PCI to launch proceedings for any attack on press

New Delhi: The Press Council will launch criminal proceedings against police and paramilitary forces if they assaulted journalists discharging their duties during coverage of demonstrations and other incidents, its Chief said on Thursday.

"The paramilitary forces and police in all States/Union Territories must be instructed not to commit any violence on media persons, otherwise they will face criminal proceedings which the Press Council will launch against them," the Council Chairperson Markandey Katju wrote in a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, copies of which were also sent to the Union and the state governments.

Katju said he is not going to accept violence on journalists by the police or para military forces. In the letter, Katju said he came to know about an incident in Kashmir where journalists were allegedly assaulted while they were covering a demonstration.

"I sent you an mail recently about the assault on some Kashmiri journalists in Srinagar, and asked you for your comments and the action you took in this connection. As yet I have not received any reply," Katju told Omar referring to the incident of a police lathicharge on an unruly mob of about 300 to 400 youth armed with lathis and stones .

Katju said that according to the police report, the journalists could not be differentiated from the rest of the mob but he observed that this was not an argument that he would subscribe to.