NEW DELHI: The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has condemned the action taken by the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Police in filing FIRs against senior editors and journalists over the coverage of the farmers’ protest.
The society appealed to the UP and MP governments to revisit their decisions so that the rights of the press are not curtailed, and the media can continue to perform its work fearlessly. Before freelance journalist Mandeep Punia’s was granted bail, the Editors Guild of India had issued a similar statement demanding his release and a restoration of circumstances for the media to be able to report smoothly.
“Punia’s arrest is an attempt to muzzle young courageous voices of independent journalists that through reporting are busting fake news and speaking truth to power,” the statement said. FIRs were lodged against several senior journalists for their reporting on Republic Day. Journalists bodies have expressed concern on the police’s high-handedness on dealing with this.
On Monday, Twitter blocked at least 250 accounts, including that of The Caravan magazine, after an order from the Centre. The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) condemned sedition and criminal defamation cases against journalists in a statement on Tuesday.
“India should commit to revisiting, reviewing and repealing these archaic laws, rooted in a colonial past. The government must ensure protection under law for journalists who face harassment and threats,” a statement by CHRI said.