Police personnel stand guard at a traffic light during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against Covid-19, in Amritsar. | AFP
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Condemning police action in the middle of Corona outbreak, the editors guild issued a statement that called out the “high handedness” of police and “arbitrary” police action against journalists.

“Such action is self-defeating when media freedoms are critically important for covering the outbreak and the state response,” the statement read.

There had been many reports of police assaulting journalists on duty. The bureau chief of Hindu had alleged that the police had abused him and “held by his neck” in his car while he was on his way back home. Meanwhile, in Noida, an Aaj Tak journalist alleged that the police took away his car keys, wallet and phone, bundled him into a van, and beat him, Scroll.in reported.

`“The State and Union Territory governments and the police also need to be reminded that media has been exempted as an essential service under the current lockdown guidelines of the Union Home Ministry,” the statement added.

While urging the government to let the media “play its role as smoothly as possible”, it demanded that a system of regular media briefings at the ministerial level be put in place to ensure communication during the outbreak “as it doesn’t give the media adequate opportunity to ask questions”.

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Meanwhile, the UP police on Thursday apologized after a video of an official, making people crawl as punishment for being out during lockdown in Budaun town, turned controversial. “Being the police chief of the district, I feel sorry and apologize for this,” Ashok Kumar Tripathi, senior superintendent of police, Budaun said, according to ANI. Tripathi said an inquiry had been initiated against the official involved.

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