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2002: Indian Muslim Statements
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Indian Muslim Statements during 2001 click here
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Joint Statement

Modi's remarks on Press condemned; Gujarat Chief minister justifies violence on Media

New Delhi, June 11, 2002: We strongly condemn the statement of the Gujarat Government (published in the Indian Express today), which implies that it does not see much of a difference between the situation in Pakistan that led to the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl, and the communal violence that erupted in its state. 

The Gujarat government in its reply to the National Human Rights Commission, is reported to have said ''There is an inherent danger to media personnel covering such incidents. They might become inadvertent victims of communal violence. The killing of Daniel Pearl in Pakistan is a perfect example.''

The NHRC had questioned the Gujarat administration on media complaints about physical attacks on media persons, particularly the electronic media, and damage caused to their cameras. A specific instance of the burning of the branch office of Gujarat Today daily, run by a Muslim trust, was cited.

The statements by the Gujarat government are a direct assault on the freedom of the Press. They also seem to condone violence against the Press. The government’s attitude will encourage hoodlums of the Sangh Parivar to attack at will media personnel and newspapers who they feel are either not toeing their line, or are reporting truths which are inconvenient to these their political masters and the government.

A free and fearless Press has been responsible for exposing the genocide in Gujarat. Newspaper reports and television cameramen have risked their lives in the line of duty, as indeed they do every time they cover violent confrontations.

But the biggest threat to a free Press is an intolerant government, and political rulers who fear exposure at the hands of the Press. A free Press is a guarantee of freedom, democracy and secularism. Civil society will not tolerate any action, or words, that seek to intimidate or shackle the media.

Dr Syeda Hamid (Muslim Women's Front)
Dr John Dayal (All India Christian Council)
Prof Iqbal Ansari (Minorities Council) 
Navaid Hamid (Movement for Empowerment of Muslim Indians)

[Syeda Hameed]
Ph:(++91-11) 6821053, 6820631


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