A draft of the proposed Chhattisgarh Protection of Mediapersons Act, submitted to the state government last week, widens the definition of mediapersons “to include all forms of news gathering including photos, video, digital graphics and text content”, Hindustan Times . The bill proposes a jail term of a year for those found harassing journalists.
According to the draft, freelancers, bloggers and contributors will be covered under the law “provided the journalist seeking protection has at least three published works in three to six months before making the complaint”. And journalists who have been paid thrice in the previous six months by a media outlet will also be protected.
“Those writing or working for any digital media would also be covered in addition to newspapers and television news,” a member of the committee that drafted the proposed law told Hindustan Times. The committee member also said the bill proposes the constitution of a media protection unit in the state.
According to a carried by the Indian Express last year, the draft law suggests the creation of a Committee for the Protection of Mediapersons within 30 days of the law coming into force to “deal with complaints of harassment, intimidation or violence, or unfair prosecution and arrests of mediapersons”.
The proposed committee will include a police officer not below the rank of additional DGP, head of the state’s department of public relations, three mediapersons “of at least 12 years’ standing, at least one of whom shall be a woman, who qualify to be registered under this Act”.
Ruchir Garg, a member of the drafting committee and media adviser to chief minister Bhupesh Baghel told Hindustan Times, “The draft has been completed and one important thing which has been added to the proposed law is that the journalists who will be member of risk management committee will be elected by the mediapersons themselves.”