New Delhi, Sept. 2, Reuter — Indian journalists plan to stage rallies, newspaper strikes and a boycott of parliamentary question time to protest against a government defamation bill they say will restrict press freedom.

Six journalists unions and associations will meet on Friday to finalise the plans, union officials said.

The bill, passed by the lower house of parliament on Tuesday, would shift the onus of proof in defamation cases onto the accused and remove protection given to newspapers reporting potentially libelous statements made in parliament.

Top newspaper editors and opposition leaders said the bill was a draconian measure to kill investigative journalism after newspapers took the lead in probes of charges of payoffs in major arms deals.

Beware of Anti-Sikh Rumours

Article extracted from this publication >> September 9, 1988