VIJAYAWADA: The AP High Court on Monday struck down a PIL filed against the state’s government order (GO 2430) that let secretaries of departments file complaints and take up legal cases against false, baseless and defamatory news published, telecast or posted in print, electronic or social media. The GO was issued by the General Administration Department (GAD) on October 30, 2019.
Uppala Lakshman, a senior journalist, challenged the GO in court by way of a PIL. Disposing of the petition, the court said the AP government, represented by Secretary, GAD, in its reply, clarified that Secretaries have the power to issue rejoinders, file complaints and lodge appropriate cases, if needed, which cannot be apprehended so as to take criminal action.
“It is stated that through the GO, the government does not want to restrict the freedom of press, access to sources of information and freedom of circulation. The intention... is that news items are published ensuring responsibility and ethics,” the court said.