RAIPUR: A case has been lodged against a journalist in Chhattisgarh's Surguja district for allegedly using abusive and derogatory language in a video clip related to an anti-encroachment drive undertaken by the local civic body and circulating it on social media, police said on Thursday.
Refuting the charges, the journalist, Manish Soni, claimed he was being falsely implicated in the case as someone else had edited his news clip and made it viral.
An FIR was lodged on Tuesday night at the Ambikapur police station against Soni under sections 294 (obscene acts) of the IPC and sections 66 and 67 of the Information Technology Act based on a complaint of Mayor of Ambikapur Municipal Corporation Ajay Tirkey, a police official said.
As per the complaint, Soni allegedly made the audio-video clip in a news form and used abusive and derogatory language in it, and circulated it on WhatsApp and Facebook, he said.
The accused tried to malign the image of the Congress through his posts, Tirkey, a leader of the ruling party, said in the complaint.
Further investigation into the matter was underway, the official said.
Soni, who works as a freelancer, said on October 17, he had posted on YouTube the video clip of a news report related to some farmers whose paddy crops were destroyed by JCB machine used during the anti-encroachment drive undertaken by the Ambikapur Municipal Corporation (AMC).
The AMC claimed the crop was planted on government land.
The video also contained reactions of farmers who said they had been sowing crops on that land for the last several years and without giving any prior notice, the municipal corporation destroyed their crops, he said.
After the news video was widely circulated, someone who was apparently annoyed with it, edited the clip and made a meme that went viral, Soni claimed.
He alleged that without carrying out a proper investigation, police have falsely implicated him in the case.
Earlier in August, the police had booked Soni in another case for allegedly putting up an objectionable post on social media platform over an encounter between security forces and naxals.
Responding to a tweet on the issue, Health Minister TS Singh Deo on Thursday said the Congress is committed to ensuring protection to impartial journalism and the rights of farmers.
The Chhattisgarh Congress is committed to protecting impartial journalism and the rights of Annadata.
'I assure that no injustice to journalists and farmers will be accepted', he tweeted in Hindi.
Through this FIR, our aim is to make it clear that the use of abusive and explicit language is not journalism, Singh Deo, the MLA from Ambikapur, said in another tweet.