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Maharashtra to soon initiate Pension Scheme for the Journalists, says CM Fadnavis

"The government is positive about a pension scheme for journalists and is studying the pension schemes of other states who are implementing them. We will soon be initiating it (scheme) in our state as well," the chief minister said.

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Twitter

Mumbai, April 11, 2017: Maharashtra to soon initiate pension scheme for the journalists, as declared by the CM Devendra Fadnavis in the Legislative council of the state. While responding to the Calling attention motion moved by Congress member Sanjay Dutt, the Maharashtra CM said “the government is positive about a pension scheme for journalists and is studying the pension schemes of other states who are implementing them. We will soon be initiating it (scheme) in our state as well.”

Earlier, Dutt demanded that the government introduce a pension scheme for journalists before the monsoon session of the state legislature. Dutt said that several states, including smaller ones like Goa, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh etc. are giving pension to journalists, apart from Delhi.

“Why Maharashtra cannot do so,” he asked.

Dutt demanded that a corpus fund to be allocated for the purpose and that interest accumulated on it can be utilized towards payment of the monthly pension to journos, mentioned PTI.

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He also asked the government to ensure effective implementation of the Journalist Protection Act once it is approved by the state legislature. Earlier the CM had mentioned about the scrutiny of the bill. while Addressing a gathering at the Sant Dnyaneshwar Sanskritik Bhavan after inaugurating the Patrakar Bhavan near Rajapeth police station, Fadnavis also assured that journalists would be helped in matters of housing, even as he announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the Amravati Union of Working Journalists (AUWJ).

While addressing a gathering at the Sant Dnyaneshwar Sanskritik Bhavan after inaugurating the Patrakar Bhavan near Rajapeth police station, Fadnavis also assured that journalists would be helped in matters of housing, even as he announced a grant of Rs 10 lakh to the Amravati Union of Working Journalists (AUWJ).

He said that the Maharashtra government was seriously contemplating the introduction of a bill to protect working journalists, and considering suggestions from various quarters.

The CM said that the bill would have provisions that would ensure that those who blackmail people under the garb of journalism were not protected. Fadnavis said that the credibility of all four pillars of democracy are in doubt and urged journalists to give more importance to what he called “valuable news” rather than “news value”.

The Maharashtra cabinet yesterday gave its approval to the draft Bill on the law prohibiting attacks on journalists (Journalists Protection Act). Now, it is to be seen when the pension scheme for journalists will become effective.

-prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6

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Reuters Journalists’ Appeal Gets Rejected by Myanmar Court

The judge said the defendants did not follow journalistic ethics and that the court could not determine whether the arrest of the reporters was a trap.

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Journalists appeal got rejected
Reuters journalists Wa Lone, left, and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are based in Myanmar, pose for a picture at the Reuters office in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec. 11, 2017. (VOA)

A Myanmar court on Friday rejected the appeal of two Reuters reporters sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of breaking the Official Secrets Act, saying the defense had not provided sufficient evidence to show they were innocent.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were convicted by a lower court in September in a landmark case that has raised questions about Myanmar’s progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates.

“It was a suitable punishment,” said High Court Judge Aung Naing, referring to the seven-year prison term meted out by the lower court.

Ruling may be appealed

The defense has the option of making a further appeal to the country’s supreme court, based in the capital Naypyitaw.

“Today’s ruling is yet another injustice among many inflicted upon Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. They remain behind bars for one reason: those in power sought to silence the truth,” said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler in a statement.

“Reporting is not a crime, and until Myanmar rights this terrible wrong, the press in Myanmar is not free, and Myanmar’s commitment to rule of law and democracy remains in doubt,” Adler wrote.

Rally, Myanmar,reporters
Activists gather at a rally, calling for the release of imprisoned Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, one year after they were arrested, in Yangon, Myanmar, Dec.12, 2018. (VOA)

Appeal arguments

In their appeal arguments made last month, defense lawyers had cited evidence of a police set-up and lack of proof of a crime. They told the appeal court the lower court that tried the case had wrongly placed the burden of proof on the defendants.

The defense also said prosecutors had failed to prove the reporters gathered and collected secret information, sent information to an enemy of Myanmar or that they had an intention to harm national security.

The judge said the defendants did not follow journalistic ethics and that the court could not determine whether the arrest of the reporters was a trap.

Khine Khine Soe, a legal officer representing the government, told the appeal hearing that the evidence showed the reporters had collected and kept confidential documents. He said they intended to harm national security and the national interest.

Also Read- Homes Destroyed, Residents Evicted in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City

Before their arrest, the reporters had been working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017.

The operation sent more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, according to United Nations’ estimates. (VOA)