NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India today expressed "deep disquiet" over the alleged misuse of law that treats defamation as a criminal offence, saying such provision is being employed to intimidate journalists writing on matters of public interests.
The Guild maintains that defamation should be treated as a civil offence, the body said, adding it "respectfully disagrees" with the Supreme Court's recent judgement upholding the criminality of defamation.
"The Editors Guild of India expresses deep disquiet over the continued misuse of the law that treats defamation as a criminal offence.
"The Guild is concerned that this provision in the Indian Penal Code is being employed by many litigants to intimidate journalists writing on matters of public interests and as a coercive tool to dissuade and even threaten the media from carrying out its legitimate responsibilities," it said in release.
The Guild said it recognises the right of an aggrieved individual to approach a court of law to seek relief against defamation but the defamation should be treated as a civil offence.
"The Guild appeals to the country's highest court of justice to review its decision so as to prevent the continued misuse of such a tyrannical provision of law. It also requests both the central and state governments to have the law suitably amended to decriminalise defamation," it said.