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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 16 New Delhi, April 4, 2020

The Editors Guild of India is deeply perturbed over the recent government statement before the Supreme Court

Saturday 4 April 2020

DOCUMENT

The Editors Guild of India

Press Release

April 02, 2020

The Editors Guild of India is deeply perturbed over the recent government statement before the Supreme Court putting the blame on the media for causing panic among migrant workers leading to their mass movement in the wake of the lockdown.

This led the apex court to observe that while it didn’t want to inhibit the debate on the pandemic in any way, the media should refer to and publish the official version of the developments pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic. The Guild would state in all humility that it holds the court in the highest respect, but finds this advice gratuitous and unnecessary.

Blaming the media at this juncture can only undermine the current work being done by it under trying circumstances. Such charges can also obstruct in the process of dissemination of news during an unprecedented crisis facing the country. No democracy anywhere in the world is fighting the pandemic by gagging its media.

The Guild’s attention has also been drawn to the lodging of a First Information Report against the Editor-in-Chief of the website TheWire. A police action in the form of an FIR under criminal laws at this stage is an overreaction and an act of intimidation.

Any such intimidation of the media or blaming the media for mass migration of workers will be counterproductive. Such actions will be tantamount to disabling the messenger.

The Guild believes for sure that the media must be responsible, free and fair. But such interference can only undermine those goals.

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