CLAP Legal Services Institute organized conference on media legal defence

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Bhubaneshwar: Even though freedom of speech and expression is a
Fundamental right under the Constitution of India, in actual practice media freedom
Is gradually being restricted due to various forms of litigations initiated against
journalists, media house and bloggers. As a result, freedom of expression is largely
affected.

Freedom of expression encompasses media freedom to strengthen democracy by
The public interest initiative by the media. However, litigations like civil and criminal
defamations, charges of sedition, contempt of Court and pressure to disclose
sources of information are increasingly used by state and non-state actors in the
process of media reporting.It requires litigations support in the Court in the form of
pro-bono legal service, so that the fourth pillar of democracy has a wider space to
exercise its freedom.

In a conference on media legal defence organized by CLAP Legal Services Institute
At Press Club of Odisha, it has been observed by the representatives of media that
The increasing trend of litigation to curtail freedom of media requires civil society
Initiative to support journalists when they are subjected to litigations in the Court of
law.

Speaking on the occasion, former Retd. Judge of Odisha High Court, Justice A.S.
Naidu, observed that in India, the space for media freedom is by and large available
As the judiciary often protects the media in litigation SophiePollak and Patrick Regan
Of Media Legal Defence Initiative;UK said that restriction on media on various
Pretexts is a world-wide phenomenon.India is no exception to this worldwide trend.
They shared litigation support by Media Legal Defence Initiative in various countries
Of the world.

In order to protect the greater interest of the journalists, media houses and bloggers
So that they can express freely especially on public interest issues, the CLAP Legal
Services Institute shall arrange high-quality legal services by engaging eminent
Lawyers to conduct the cases, said Dr Bikash Das, President of CLAP Legal Services
Institute.Dr Das said that while CLAP has documented as many as 376 cases field
Against journalists in the year 2016 and 2017,it has supported 25 cases to secure
Justice for journalists.

On this occasion, Senior Journalists Arun Panda, Debendra Prusty, Sandeep Sahu,
DikshyaTiwari, Sujata Singh, S. N Ansari, Mahesh Sharma, Shilpi Ashok and Chitta
Mishra discussed about the implications of litigations against Journalist. Former
Judge of CBI Court H.B.Das, Prof.P.K.Sarkar, Snigdha Panigrahi, Sheela Patnaik, Dr.
Bikash Das spoke on the legal dimensions of press freedom.Sangeeta Majhi,Vice
president, CLAP Legal Service Institute offered the vote of thanks at the end of the
programme.

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