New Delhi: Any action which impinges upon the freedom of speech and expression, including the media persons' right to report, is "abhorrent", Union Minister Manish Tewari said on Monday.

"If there is anything, any action -- warranted or unwarranted -- which impinges upon the freedom of speech and expression which includes the right to report, we absolutely consider it to be abhorrent and condemn it," Tewari said.

The I&B Minister said this after some scribes complained about hostile police action against media during the Sunday's protest against the gangrape of a paramedic student.

He said Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had already ordered an inquiry into the incident.

"So far as protests are concerned, there is a case for moderation and restraint on all sides. Violence or the use of exaggerated force by the state is avoidable," he added.

Tewari said government is seized of the fact that severe and strict punishment is required in crimes which are depraved in nature and shock the collective conscience of society.

"We continue to be both concerned and engaged with the situation with the larger objective of addressing the issue of making our cities, our streets and public spaces safer for women," he said when for his comment on the situation in the capital where furious protests over the safety of women have raged on for past few days.

"Whatever needs to be done to ensure that there is quick and expeditious justice with regard to this particular incident, the government is particularly committed to do that," he added.

He also said the government was in the process of setting up a helpline for women in distress in Delhi and a three digit number 167 - had been allotted for the purpose.


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