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Chhattisgarh Mediapersons Protection Bill 2023

  • Published
    23rd Mar, 2023
Context

The Chhattisgarh legislative Assembly on Wednesday passed a Bill, ‘Chhattisgarh Media persons Protection Bill 2023’, aimed at providing protection to media persons and preventing violence against them.

Need of the initiative:

  • Journalism remains a deadly profession—and nine times out of ten, the murder of a journalist is unresolved.
  • Other threats against journalists, online and offline, continue to grow. Journalist imprisonment is at record highs, while online violence and harassment spur self-censorship and, in some cases, physical attacks.

Provisions of the Bill:

  • The Bill asks for the registration of all media persons with a broad classification of journalists, media institutions and mass media, such as news gatherers, freelancers, trainees and interns.
  • Formation of a Committee:
  • A committee will be constituted under a chairperson to deal with complaints from the media.
  • Three media persons with over 10 years of experience, including at least one woman and two senior government officials, will be the members of the committee.
  • Powers of the committee:
    • The committee shall have the same powers throughout the state as are vested with the civil court while the trial of a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908). 
    • The committee shall have the power to recommend emergency protection measures and protection plans to the Superintendent of Police (SP) of the district concerned, who in turn will take appropriate decisions as per law.
    • The committee will have powers to direct the SP of the district concerned to supervise the investigation and submit a report within 15 days in cases where there are allegations or trials or inquiries/investigations against a media person.
    • The committee can also act against media persons for giving false complaints.
    • For the first false complaint, the registration will be cancelled and for a second time, a fine may go up to Rs 10,000.

Significance:

  • The Bill will give protection to journalists in the state of Chhattisgarh.
  • This ensures freedom of free speech in Chhattisgarh. Other states should also follow a similar pathway to ensure the freedom of free speech and expression.
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