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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 27, New Delhi, June 19, 2021

FIRs by UP Police Against The Wire and Several Journalists - Statement by Editors Guild of India - June 17, 2021

Friday 18 June 2021

The Editors Guild of India


June 17, 2021

The Editors Guild of India condemns the filing of First Information Reports (FIRs) by the Uttar Pradesh Police against The Wire and several other journalists, for their tweets on an assault on an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad on June 5th. In the video that was posted by those charged, the man is seen alleging that he was beaten up by some people and was forced him to chant ‘ Jai Shree Ram’.

Several media organizations and journalists, besides the ones charged by the police, posted this video on their social media feeds. Subsequently there was an alternate version offered by the UP Police claiming that the assault was borne out of a dispute regarding a talisman that the elderly man had sold to some people, which was also reported by these media organizations and journalists.

The Guild is deeply concerned by the UP Police’s track record of filing FIRs against journalists to deter them from reporting serious incidents without fear of reprisals. It is the duty of the journalists to report on the basis of sources and in case facts become contested later on, to report the emerging versions and facets. For police to wade into such professional calls by journalists and attribute criminality to their actions is destructive of freedom of speech, which is constitutionally protected and is an entrenched feature of the rule of law.

Further, it is quite evident that the police has been discriminatory in targeting those media organizations and journalists- when thousands had tweeted the video- that have been critical of the government and it’s policies. The Guild condemns this wanton misuse of laws to criminalize reporting and dissent to harass independent media and demands that the FIRs be withdrawn immediately.

Thanks and Regards,

Seema Mustafa, President
Sanjay Kapoor, General Secretary
Anant Nath, Treasurer

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