Centre raises queries over Maharashtra journalist protection Act

PTIUpdated: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 08:24 AM IST
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Mumbai: The Centre has raised queries with the Maharashtra government regarding its Act, protecting journalists from attacks, which was passed by the state Legislature in April last year, a senior official said today.

The Maharashtra Media Persons and Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act 2017 was passed by both Houses of the state Legislature in April last year. Director General of Information and Public Relations, Brijesh Singh, told PTI that the Union government has sought answers from the state government to some queries but he refused to divulge their details.

However, a senior official said that such queries are generally raised when an Act passed by a state has provisions which overlap with those under the Centre. Singh said that an appropriate reply was being prepared in connection with the queries. The Act makes such offences cognisable, non-bailable and triable by a first class judicial magistrate and lays down that a police officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police would investigate them.

It has provisions under which any person attacking journalists or media houses in the state can be punished with a jail term of three years and/or a fine of Rs 50,000. Those convicted would also be liable to pay compensation for damage to property as well as medical expenses of those injured in such attacks.

It defines a media institution as any registered newspaper, news channel, news-based electronic outlet or news station establishment. It lays down that a media person means a person whose principal vocation is that of a journalist and would include editor, sub-editor, news editor, reporter, correspondent, cartoonist, news photographer, TV cameraman, lead-writer, feature writer, copy tester and proof reader among others.

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