February 4, 2015
DUJ Condemns Attacks on Women Journalists
The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) condemns the sacking of the Urdu daily Avadhnama’s editor and its 15-member staff for publishing a cover of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. Shirin Dalvi, the woman editor of the Mumbai edition of the newspaper, has been charged and arrested for “outraging religious feelings” under Sec.295A of the IPC.
The DUJ notes that six FIRs have been registered against Dalvi in different parts of Maharashtra. This smacks of religious intolerance and is an attack on the freedom of the press. DUJ regrets that Dalvi and her family are receiving death threats, despite the apology she published in the daily. Dalvi has secured bail from one court and is trying to secure bail from another. She has been forced to go into hiding and has put on a burkha for the first time in her life to conceal her identity.
The Journalists' body demands that Dalvi and the staff of the daily be restored to their jobs and that the daily resume publication so that media freedom is upheld. We believe that while religious sentiments and sensitivities need to be respected, these must be balanced against the secular rights and media freedoms that guard India’s democracy.
It also condemns the assault by two policemen on a woman reporter of a TV channel in Guwahati and the cameraperson accompanying her. They were attacked for attempting to expose a housing racket. DUJ demands strict action against the guilty policemen.
The Gender Council of the DUJ believes that attacks on women reporters and editors are increasing, reflecting the growing intolerance in the country. It is vital that women journalists are provided due protection given the numerous risks they take in the pursuit of their profession.
(Sujata Madhok) (S K Pande)
President General Secretary