New Delhi, Feb 19: A group of journalists, including a few who were attacked at a court complex here, today met President Pranab Mukherjee, saying the freedom to report without fear was "under threat" and that they cannot work in an atmosphere of "fear and intimidation".
"The delegation of journalists and others led by the Indian Women's Press Corps, Press Club of India and Editors Guild met the President and presented a memorandum to him regarding the attacks on journalists in the premises of Patiala House court on February 15 and 17," an official statement said.
"The delegation included five journalists who were attacked by lawyers and they narrated their experiences to the President," it added. T K Rajalakshmi of the IWPC, Seema Mustafa from the Editors Guild, Nadeem Kazmi from the Press Club of India and Prashanth Raghuvamsom of the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, who led the delegation, conveyed to Mukherjee that the journalistic community across the country was concerned with the events in Patiala House Court premises and the freedom to report without fear was under threat.
"They expressed a concern that the perpetrators involved in both occasions were still roaming freely. The journalists pointed out how they were attacked by the lawyers in full presence of the police and how despite their complaint no FIR had been registered as yet," the statement said.
The memorandum submitted by the scribes said, "journalists and journalism cannot operate in this atmosphere of fear and intimidation. There is a growing impression that violence is acceptable in name of nationalism and patriotism".
"It is our collective apprehension that if unchecked and in the absence of any accountability, such violence will continue unabated, rendering journalists and journalism vulnerable to more such attacks elsewhere in the country as well. A free and fair press cannot operate under the threat of intimidation and violence," the memorandum added.
Journalists, students and teachers of JNU were beaten up allegedly by groups of lawyers in Patiala High court premises where the students' union president of JNU, Kanhaiya Kumar was to be produced in a sedition case.