The Congress government in Chhattisgarh will soon enact a law to ensure protection of journalists, an official release said on Monday. The draft of the proposed law was prepared by a committee headed by former Supreme Court judge Aftab Alam. "A Journalist Security Law will be implemented soon to ensure protection to journalists in the state," the statement said.
The panel will tour the state from November 16 to 18 and register suggestions and feedback from journalists, their unions and common people on the draft, it added. According to the draft of the proposed law, the legislation will be called as the Chhattisgarh Protection of Mediapersons Act.
"Within 30 days of the Act coming into force, the government shall constitute a state-level committee for the protection of media persons to deal with the complaints of harassment, intimidation or violence, or unfair prosecution and arrests of mediapersons," it said.
The panel will comprise a police officer not below the rank of the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Head of the Department of Public Relations and three mediapersons of at least twelve years' standing, at least one of whom shall be a woman, the draft said. It will set up risk management units that will function under the overall supervision of the state-level committee, the draft said.
The proposed Act also provides that whoever, being a public servant, wilfully neglects duties required to be performed by him under this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term, which may extend to one year, it said. Offences under this Act shall be investigated by a police officer not below the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) which will be cognisable and bailable. It is a poll promise of the ruling Congress that speciallaws will be drafted to ensure protection of journalists, lawyers and doctors.