As the farmer unions on Friday decided to intensify their agitation against Centre's recently enacted three farm laws calling for 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) has issued a media advisory and asked to refrain from labelling agitators as "Khalistanis" and "anti-nationals".
The Editors Guild said that it is concerned about the news coverage of the farmers’ protests in Delhi and labelling the agitators as "Khalistanis", "anti-nationals", and other such terms "without any evidence or proof goes against the tenets of responsible and ethical journalism".
Here is the full statement:
The Editors Guild of India has issued a Media Advisory on the news coverage of the ongoing farmers’ protests in the national capital
The Editors Guild of India (EGI) is concerned about the news coverage of the farmers’ protests in the national capital, wherein certain sections of the media have been labelling them as “Khalistanis”, “ anti-nationals”, and other such terms to delegitimise the protests without any evidence or proof. This goes against the tenets of responsible and ethical journalism. Such actions compromise the credibility of the media.
EGI advises media organizations to display fairness, objectivity, and balance in reporting the farmers’ protests, without displaying partisanship against those who are exercising their constitutional rights to express themselves. Media shouldn’t be complicit to any narrative that derogates dissent and stereotypes protestors based on their attire and ethnicity.
Meanwhile, addressing a joint press conference ahead of the fifth round of talks with the government on Saturday, the farmer union leaders said the government should repeal the farm laws.
Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU-Lakhowal) General Secretary HS Lakhowal said they had given a call to burn effigies of Modi government on December 5.
"Yesterday, we told the Government that the farm laws should be withdrawn. We have given a call for Bharat Bandh on December 8," he said.
Hannan Mollah, General Secretary, All India Kisan Sabha said, "We need to take this protest forward. Government has to take back the farm laws."
Thousands of farmers have gathered in and around Delhi to protest against the three farm laws.
On Thursday, the farmers held the fourth round of talks with the Centre and said the government had talked of some amendments to farm laws.
Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said after the talks that the government has no ego and it was discussing the issues raised by farmers with an open mind.
"The government will discuss points that emerged at the meeting on Friday and hopes that talks will move towards finality when the next round of discussions is held on Saturday," the minister had said.
The farmers are protesting against the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
(With ANI inputs)