Even as several journalists in the national capital have come out in protest of cases lodged against scribes covering the farmer agitation, a Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) legislator in Rajasthan has demanded that the Congress government in the state should come up with a law to protect media persons.
The sitting BJP MLA from Chhabra constituency and former Urban Development and Housing (UDH) minister Pratap Singh Singhvi on Sunday demanded that a law should be enforced in the state which will ensure the safety and protection of journalists including their rights.
A letter written by Singhvi to Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot reads, "There has been a rise in the atrocities against journalists in Rajasthan. A young journalist Abhishek Saini was killed in an attack, another former photojournalist working in a vernacular was injured in an attack at a petrol pump, and there are several cases of journalists being attacked by the mining mafia".
The MLA has written the letter to CM after numerous complaints of journalist atrocities were highlighted to him by the Journalist Association of Rajasthan (JAR).
Speaking to Outlook, Singhvi, who is a six-time MLA said, "The journalists are unsafe in the state. There is a need of bringing a protection law that safeguards their lives and rights. The increase in the attacks on journalists in Rajasthan is alarming and it's a high time that the government should take a cognizance".
Reacting to the Singhvi's allegations, Rajasthan minister of Information and senior Congress leader Raghu Sharma told Outlook, "If at all journalists need protection, then it's in the BJP-ruled state where they feel unsafe. Every day we see FIRs being lodged against journalists in those states ruled by the saffron party. In Rajasthan, scribes are safe and their rights are protected".
It is to be noted that in October 2020, Rajasthan police had lodged an FIR against Sharat Kumar, a Rajasthan based senior journalist working with Aaj Tak news channel, and Lokendra Singh, also a former journalist and the media manager of former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot, for reporting 'phone tapping of Congress MLAs' during their stay in a hotel in Jaisalmer in August 2020 amidst the political crisis in the state.
However, two months later, after no evidence was found against the two, the case was closed and police filed a final report (FR).