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Mainstream, VOL LX No 25, New Delhi, June 11, 2022

India: The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) deplores the hostility repeatedly exhibited by politicians and vigilante groups towards journalists

Saturday 11 June 2022

DELHI UNION OF JOURNALISTS (REGD)

Flat No.29, Central Market, Connaught Place, New Delhi-1

Phone: 23413459, Email: duj.delhi@gmail.com

June 6, 2022

PRESS RELEASE

The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) deplores the hostility repeatedly exhibited by politicians and vigilante groups towards journalists.

The targetting of Mohd Zubair, co-founder and Editor of Alt News, is a classic case of shooting the messenger. Zubair tweeted that BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma had made objectionable remarks against Prophet Mohammad on TV. Sharma’s remarks were made on prime time TV which is watched by millions of people, not just the Alt News Editor, so singling him out is uncalled for.

Last week another tweet by Zubair led to filing of cases against him for calling Hindutva leaders Yati Narsinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop ’hate mongers’. That tweets can lead to the filing of cases shows the intent to harass. There is an urgent need to amend laws that can be so arbitrarily applied. This is the fifth case against the journalist.

The open allegations against a journalist by a Tamil Nadu politician also reflect the hostility that many mediapersons face in the course of their work. BJP state president K. Annamalai accused a journalist of corruption at a press conference for simply asking a question he found inconvenient. Local journalists were forced to stage a protest outside the Chennai Press Club against such accusations.

The Union Government’s mistrust of any media that does not toe the official line is evident in its proposed draft to amend the Information Technology Rules, 2021 to impose further curbs on social media, including the right to block or suspend accounts.

We call for fewer curbs on media, including social media, and the striking down by the courts of all laws that can be misused to intimidate and harass journalists, including the sedition and defamation laws. We demand that Parliament enact a special law for the protection of journalists against arbitrary arrest, the filing of cases for their reportage and commentary and other forms of harassment.

Sd/- Sd/-

SK Pande Sujata Madhok

President General Secretary

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