STATE TIMES NEWSUDHAMPUR: Agitated for not being allowed to attend the function of Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Dr Jitendra Singh, the members of Udhampur Journalists Association (UJA) on Monday staged a protest against what they called coercive tactics to browbeat the fourth estate.Number of journalists from both print and electronic media took out rally from Slathia Chowk to Gole Market Udhampur against the insensitive attitude towards media persons for not allowing them to cover the visit of MoS Dr Jitendra Singh.Speaking on the occasion senior journalists Pardeep Bakshi, Ramesh Gupta, Amit Mahi and Deepak Anand said that media which is fourth pillar of democracy has always helped and worked as bridge between people and administration in highlighting problems of masses and awaking people about achievements of government.Terming the move as a tactic to coerce journalists and media, the senior journalists said that it is very unfortunate that media, which is known as the ‘Fourth Pillar of Democracy’ was stopped to perform its duty. “Media has always worked as a bridge between people and those at the helm of affairs.Media has always been responsible in highlighting genuine problems of people for their timely redressal, but such an attempt to debar media from performing its duties is really condemnable and unfortunate,” they asserted, adding that by obstructing media to cover Dr Jitendra’s recent visit at project Devika, a gap has been created between people and government.As a mark of resentment, the UJA observed Black Day and took out a silent protest march in Udhampur while strictly adhering to COVID SoPs.According to reports, a large number of media persons, both from the print and the electronic media, holding placards, took out a protest rally, which started from Slathia Chowk Udhampur and passed through various markets and Chowks before culminating at Gole market, near Fountain Chowk.“We are aware of journalistic ethics and have always upheld these principles, even in the times of COVID, but it is sad that we are often being harassed and stopped to perform our routine duties, thereby suppressing freedom of press. Such a step would not be tolerated,” they said, adding “It is quite astonishing that for the first time the media persons working in district were informed through WhatsApp message that they are not allowed to cover Dr Jitendra Singh’s visit regarding ongoing work on Devika project.”Those who attended the protest march included Sumit Sharma, Arun Jasrotia, Deepankar Gupta, Ravi Singh, Ashish Dutt, Sourav Sagar, Swapnil Pachiyala, Navesh Sharma, Rakesh Badyal, Anwar Hussain, Krishan Khajuria, Akash Verma, Aftab Ahmed Vikram Parihar, Baljit Singh, Ashwani Sharma, Viney Sharma, Naresh Kundal, Ajay Bandral, Naresh Kumar, Akash Verma and Vikas Katria.
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