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3 in 5 journalists in India face work-related threats: Survey

The “Threats to Safety of Journalists in India” survey involved 823 media professionals, out of which approximately 21 per cent were female.

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Freedom Forge Press

New Delhi, Nov 15 : About three in five journalists in India receive threats or pressure at some point of time, mostly through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter as well as private messaging app like WhatsApp, said a survey on Friday.

Of those who faced threats/harassment, 35 per cent believe that they were targeted because of the angle or the way a story was reported by them.

While 29 per cent of the overall respondents disclosed that they received threats once in a year, 19 per cent of the respondents received threats several times a month, showed the results of the survey conducted by Vision Foundation in association with the National Union of Journalists (India).

Out of those who were threatened, around 46 per cent respondents claimed that social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook were the medium, followed by 17 per cent respondents who were threatened via private messaging apps like WhatsApp/Message.

On the other hand, 76 per cent journalists said that either no safety protocol existed in their organisations or that they were not trained for safety issues.

At least four journalists were killed in India in 2019 due to work-related issues.

The “Threats to Safety of Journalists in India” survey involved 823 media professionals, out of which approximately 21 per cent were female.

The results suggest that journalists face physical, psychological and emotional risks because of many factors like sharp division of ideology among citizens, high voltage political situations, impunity for crime against journalists and ethical dimensions of journalism, among others.

Ensuring accuracy of news published (74 per cent), followed by reporting exclusive news (13%) and being the first one to publish news (11 per cent) seem to be the top three priorities of the media organisations in which the respondents work, the study revealed.

When asked about the biggest challenge faced by the journalism sector in the 21st century, 33 per cent pointed to increasing attacks on freedom of press, followed by 21 per cent respondents who felt that fake/paid news was the biggest challenge.

Social networking sites and influencers bypassing traditional media was cited as a challenge by 18 per cent respondents.

India

Five new faces in Prasar Bharati board

The Prasar Bharati Board plays a crucial role in the general administrative functioning of the state broadcaster. Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body.

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Shaina NC

New Delhi, July 7 : With nine of the 13 posts in the Prasar Bharati board becoming vacant, the Centre on Tuesday appointed five key individuals, including BJP spokesperson Shaina NC and music composer Salim Merchant, as part-time members of the coveted board.

The other three are Sanjay Gupta, the editor-in-chief of a Hindi daily, media personality Alok Agawarwal and veteran journalist Ashok Kumar Tandon.

While Merchant’s tenure lasts till 2021, Agarwal and Shaina NC’s tenures last till 2023. Sanjay Gupta and Ashok Kumar Tandon’s tenures expire in 2025.

Speaking to IANS, Shaina NC said that thrust will be given on the All India Radio. “I think our endeavour will be to completely organise Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati, particularly mediums like All India Radio, which has tremendous connectivity and a lot of goodwill. I think that will be maximised to the best of our ability,” she said.

The Prasar Bharati Board plays a crucial role in the general administrative functioning of the state broadcaster. Prasar Bharati is an autonomous body.

Recently, the state broadcaster made headlines after its spat with news agency PTI. Prasar Bharati had shot off a letter threatening to end its “relationship” with PTI over the alleged “anti-national” reportage by the news agency, a charge refuted by PTI’s former Editor-in-Chief M.K. Razdan, who called it “preposterous”.

Asked about whether deciding the fate of the “relationship” between the broadcaster and the news agency will be on the table, Shaina NC said, “I am sure a lot of issues will come up,” adding that it won’t be right for her to “predetermine” at this juncture.

Earlier, in her tweet, the BJP leader also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar for her appointment to the prestigious board.

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Health

Health Ministry steps in to curb black marketing of Covid drug

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

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remdesivir antiviral drug

New Delhi, July 7 : The Union Health Ministry has asked all the states to strengthen their vigil so that black marketing of Covid-19 drug Remdesivir is prevented.

The Directorate General of Health Services under the Health Ministry has written to the Drug Controllers of the states to prevent sale of Remdesivir above MRP.

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has given approval for the manufacturing and marketing of Remdesivir to Cipla, Hetro and Mylan.

The DGHS said that it has received a letter from LocalCircles routed through the Health Ministry, raising concerns over black marketing and overpricing of Remdesivir by certain unscrupulous persons.

“In view of the above, you are requested to instruct your enforcement officials to keep strict vigil on the matter to prevent black marketing and sale of Remdesivir injection above the MRP,” the DGHS said in the letter to the states.

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Cities

LG Polymers CEO among 12 arrested over Vizag gas leak mishap

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

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Visag Gas Victims Protests

Visakhapatnam, July 7 : LG Polymers Managing Director and CEO, Sunkey Jeong and Technical Director D.S. Kim were among 12 officials of the company arrested by Visakhapatnam police on Tuesday, in connection with the styrene gas leak tragedy that left 15 dead and hundreds hospitalised in May this year.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, R.V.S.N. Murthy, who is also the investigation officer, said the accused were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

They were also booked under Indian Penal Code”s Sections 278 (Making atmosphere noxious to health), 284 (Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) read with section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).

The gas leak from LG Polymers plant on the intervening night of May 6 and 7 affected Venkatapuram and five other villages.

According to police, while 12 people died on May 7 and 8, three more villagers succumbed on May 25 and afterwards. A total of 34 animals also died in the incident.

The development comes a day after the High Powered Committee (HPC) submitted its probe report to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The HPC probe report had listed several lapses on the part of the LG Polymers management, which led to the styrene gas leakage.

The other accused arrested on Tuesday are LG Polymers” and Additional Director (Operations) P.P. Chandra Mohan Rao, HOD, SMH (in-charge) K. Srinivas Kiran Kumar, team leader production Raju Satyanarayana, engineers C. Chandrasekhar, K. Gowri Sankara Nagendra Ramu, K. Chakrapani, operator Muddu Rajesh, night duty officer (operations) P. Balaji, incharge GPPS S. Atchyut and safety officer in night shift K. Venkata Narasimha Ramesh Patnaik.

According to the investigating official, the investigations disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to negligence of the accused who were also having knowledge that their acts are likely to cause death.

“The investigations so far made disclosed that the accident occurred to the poor design of M6 Tank, inadequate refrigeration and cooling system, absence of circulation systems, inadequate measurement parameters, weak safety protocol, poor safety awareness, inadequate risk assessment and response, poor management, slackness of management, insufficient knowledge amongst staff, insufficient understanding of the chemical properties of styrene, especially during storage under idle conditions and total breakdown of the emergency response procedures,” the police said.

Meanwhile, in a related development in the case, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) suspended environmental engineers R. Lakshmi Naryana and P. Prasada Rao for negligence.

Acting on the report of the HPC, APPCB suspended Prasada Rao, environmental engineer, regional office, Visakhapatnam, for gross negligence in allowing operation of LG Polymers without environmental clearance, allowing import and storage of huge quantity of styrene without verifying safety and environmental issues. Lakshmi Narayana, environmental engineer, zonal office, Visakhapatnam, was also suspended on the same charges.

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