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pathakFollowing protests by journalists over civic chief Jairaj Phatak’s guidelines to be followed during media briefings, mayor Shubha Raul stepped in to raise her voice against the circular. Mumbai Mayor Dr. Shubha Raul assured reporters post the MCGM weekly press conference that she would take up the matter with Phatak and “make sure that the circular is withdrawn”. However, when she called up Phatak over the matter, the latter said he would not change his decision. He said that “It’s my press conference and journalists will have to abide by my rules”. Reporters from the print as well as the broadcast media protested outside Phatak’s cabin on Friday against his diktat to “discipline” mediapersons and “not entertaining journalists who ask too many questions”. Journalists are the fourth pillar of a democracy and are key to the transparent functioning of society. Government agencies cannot curtail their voice in this manner, said Shubha Raul. On Thursday, Phatak issued a six-point guideline, warning journalists covering BMC issues that they would be thrown off the civic headquarters if they did not toe his line. Vishnu Sonawane, president of the BMC’s reporters’ association, said chief minister Ashok Chavan would be apprised of the developments in the matter and that whatever done was not correct. With cameraperson Raju Sharma, Hansraj Kanaujia for NMTV News.

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