From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not Much
Mains level : Freedom of Press
- President has given assent to a legislation passed by the Maharashtra Assembly in 2017 that makes violent attacks on mediapersons a non-bailable offence.
- Maharashtra is the first State to pass such legislation.
Maharashtra Media Persons and Media Institutions Act, 2017
- The Maharashtra Media Persons and Media Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage or Loss to Property) Act, 2017, also has a provision of imprisonment and a fine of ₹50,000.
- It was passed by the Assembly in 2017, but received the President’s assent in October after the Union Home Ministry scrutinized the legislation and consulted all concerned Ministries.
- The MHA had returned the Bill to the Maharashtra government last year to seek clarification.
- The Bill has a provision that any offence against a mediapersons will be investigated by a police officer above the rank of a Deputy Superintendent of Police.
Why need such law?
- There are rampant instances of violence and attacks against mediapersons and damage or loss to the property of media institutions.
- There is strong demand to prevent such violence against mediapersons or damage or loss to the property belonging to mediapersons or media institutions and check the recurrence of such incidents in the State.
- In 2017, the MHA also issued an advisory to all States to ensure the “safety and security of journalists”.
- The advisory was issued days after Bengaluru-based journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot dead near her home.