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Mainstream, VOL 60 No 46 November 5, 2022

Police Searches at homes of editors of the Wire - Statement By Editors Guild

Friday 4 November 2022

The Editors Guild of India

PRESS STATEMENT

November 2nd, 2022

The Editors Guild of India is extremely disturbed by the manner in which Delhi Police Crime Branch carried out search and seizures at the homes of founding editors and senior editors of the Wire, as well as their office and the newsroom in Delhi, on October 31, 2022.

The searches were carried out in a follow up to a First Information Report (FIR), registered in response to a complaint filed on October 29th, by the BJP national spokesperson and head of the party IT cell, Mr. Amit Malaviya, against the news organisation.

The haste with which the police searches were carried out at multiple locations, is excessive and disproportionate, and in the manner of a fishing and roving enquiry. Further, as per a statement published by the Wire, the police personnel seized phones, computers, and iPads from homes of the journalists, as well as from the office, and no hash value of the digital devices was given in spite of requests made by them. This is a serious violation of procedures and rules of investigation. Moreover, digital devices of editors and journalists would have sensitive information pertaining to journalistic sources and stories under work, the confidentiality of which can be seriously compromised in such seizures.

It must be noted that the Wire has already admitted to serious lapses in their reporting on stories pertaining to Meta with references to Mr. Malaviya. These lapses are condemnable and the reports based on wrong information have since been withdrawn by the Wire.

However, these police search and seizures in violation of established rules and in intimidatory manner is also alarming. The Guild urges the law enforcement agencies to strictly adhere to rules of investigation in this matter, and to ensure that integrity of sensitive journalistic information is not violated and other on-going work of the news organisation is not obstructed.

The Guild further urges the Delhi Police to be objective and impartial in investigating all the complaints filed in this matter, and not use intimidatory tactics in disregard of democratic principles.

Thanks and regards,

Seema Mustafa, President
Anant Nath, General Secretary
Shriram Pawar, Treasurer

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