Alleging “undermining” of press freedom in Chhattisgarh, scores of journalists from the state on Tuesday protested at the Jantar Mantar here and demanded release of the scribes who have been arrested there.The protesters who hailed from various districts of Chattisgarh, alleged that journalists in the state are being “intimidated” by the administration and “self-styled vigilante” groups. They also held black banners and placards bearing messages like ‘journalism is not a crime’ and ‘stop illegal detention’. The journalists demanded that the state government ensure an environment where they could report freely, especially in regions like Bastar, without the fear of being linked with Maoists.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Every journalist is being intimidated by police. There is a nexus between administration and vigilante group to ensure that the journalists do not report truth,” alleged Kamal Shukla, editor of Bhumkal Samachar, a Bastar-based newspaper.Journalists from Chattisgarh had formed Patrakaar Suraksha Kanoon Sanyukt Sangarsh Samiti after the arrest of two local reporters last year in what the fraternity has alleged were “fabricated cases”. The protest today was led by the Samiti.Two other journalists were also arrested and another was made to leave Bastar, journalists associated with the Sangharsh Samiti alleged. “We are being harassed on trumped-up charges of having links with the Maoists. Police want us to become their mouthpiece,” claimed Kamal Chauhan of a weekly newspaper Rajat Khabar.Meanwhile, global human rights body Amnesty International has demanded release of four journalists who have been arrested for writing “against” the state government. “We demand that the Raman Singh government release four journalists who have been arrested for writing against the state government,” the rights body said in a statement.Earlier in March, a three-member fact-finding team of Editors Guild of India in its report had claimed that there is “a sense of fear” in Bastar and every journalist working there feels that he/she is “not safe.”

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Journalists protest in Delhi over press freedom issues in Chandigarh