Itanagar, August 3, 2019:

As many as 71 per cent people feel that press freedom is threatened in India, according to a new poll. Joining the nationwide agitation launched by the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) against the NDA government’s move to allegedly curtail press freedom in the country by repealing two legislations that protect the unique character of the journalism profession, the Members of the state’s media community, under the banner of the Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ), staged  a ‘dharna’ yesterday.

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In two labour code bills – one on working conditions and the other on wages – introduced in the Lok Sabha on 23 July, the government proposed to repeal the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955, and the Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act, 1958, along with 11 other labour laws.

Holding placards and banners with their demands inscribed on them, the members of the Arunachal Press community staged a silent sit-in protest at the Arunachal Press Club here.

Later, addressing the members, APUWJ President Amar Sangno said the protest was organized to extend solidarity to the IJU, which has been vocal about the NDA government’s decision to repeal the labour code bills, and upon whose call Friday’ agitation was launched across the country.

He said the protest was also aimed at sending a strong signal to the government that the journalists would fight along with other sections of the working class to protect their interests.

“The IJU has clearly stated that any attempt to undermine the functioning of the fourth estate will be fought tooth and nail as it would have undesirable effects on the democratic polity and strike at its very roots. Freedom of the press is of paramount importance and moreover, the claim made by the government that it consulted all the stakeholders with regard to the bills is misleading,” Sangno said.

On behalf of the state’s media community, he appealed to the central government to reconsider its decision, so as to upkeep the freedom of the press, which is vital in a democratic country like India.

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