New Delhi: The Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) asked news channels across the country to be careful in airing the visuals of alleged attacks on journalists and camera persons in Panchkula, near Chandigarh, by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh after he was pronounced guilty in a rape case by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court.

BEA is the apex body of editors of national and regional television news channels across the country. In an advisory issued to the editors of all news channels on Friday evening, BEA urged them to “keep a careful eye on the content and views that can inflame people."

“All editors should take utmost care while playing violence visuals of the coverage of Baba Ram Rahim case. Please verify the facts before putting them on air because lots of rumours are floating around," BEA said in a statement.

Following the conviction of Singh in a 2002 rape case, his alleged supporters attacked the police and media persons in the vicinity. Three media vans were torched and vehicles of assembled journalists/camera persons were set on fire. There have also been reports of violence in other parts of Haryana and Punjab as well as neighbouring states including the national capital.

In a statement, News Broadcasters Association, the representative body of private television news broadcasters, condemned the assault on journalists and camera persons and urged the chief ministers of both states to bring the situation under control so that “media/press are able to perform their duties without fear."

“NBA considers this violence as an attack on the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression of the media/press. The chief ministers of Haryana and Punjab must take exemplary action against the culprits to ensure that such shameful incidents are not repeated in future," the association said in the statement.

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