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Editors Guild demands security for journalists

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, AUG. 29. The Editors Guild of India today sought the Centre's intervention in ensuring the safety and security of journalists in Maharashtra. Condemning the attack on the chief editor and two other staffers of the Marathi evening daily, Mahanagar, in Malvan on Saturday, the Guild noted that it was the second such attack on the Fourth Estate in a week in the State.

In a statement issued here, the Guild pointed out that it was only last Tuesday that the daily's Hindi editor, Sajid Rashid, had been attacked in Mumbai. On Saturday, the chief editor of the eveninger, Nikhil Wagle, and two others were attacked; allegedly by Shiv Sainiks at Malvan in Sindhudurg district . "That two editors have been set upon by fanatic and nefarious elements within four days speaks of the abdication of responsibility by the Maharashtra Government to protect the freedom of the press.''

More regrettable is the fact that instead of "swinging into action, the State Government reduced itself to the level of a mute spectator'', the Guild said. The Guild had urged the State Government to take appropriate steps to protect the editors of Mahanagar and their colleagues. "But the Government turned a deaf ear to the suggestion of the Guild and the result was obvious: another attack on another editor within a span of four days.''

This underscores not only the failure of the State Government to protect editors from fanatical hardliners but also proves the Government's inability to ensure the freedom of expression enshrined in the Constitution. "Such incidents may cause a scare not only among journalists but also in society, and are bound to have a bearing on our social fabric and democracy,'' the Guild said.

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