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Mainstream, VOL LIX No 31, New Delhi, July 17, 2021

Heavy-handedness by the state authorities in Uttar Pradesh with respect to media - EGI Statement

Friday 16 July 2021

The Editors Guild of India

PRESS STATEMENT

July 12th, 2021

Editors Guild of India is deeply disturbed by the continuing trend of heavy-handedness by the state authorities in Uttar Pradesh with respect to journalists and media. The latest incident is that of an assault on a journalist by the Chief Development Officer (CDO), in the district of Unnao, UP, on July 10, 2021, when the former was covering polling for Block Pramukh elections. In a video that has gone viral on social media, Krishna Tiwari, a local journalist, is seen being beaten up by Divyanshu Patel (CDO), as well as reportedly some BJP workers.

EGI finds this incident highly condemnable and actionable. This incident has come against the backdrop of increased persecution of journalists in the state of UP, as the administration has punished, penalized, and incarcerated journalists in an effort to intimidate them from freely reporting on crimes, state excesses, and the management of the pandemic. Siddique Kappan, the journalist who was arrested while reporting on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras in October 2020, still remains in jail under the draconian UAPA, in spite of several appeals by the family and the civil society to afford him a fair trial and treatment.

Even though the CDO has subsequently apologized to the journalist, this attitude of heavy-handedness by the administration is hurting the democratic rights of the media, which becomes all the more crucial given that the state goes into polls next year.

EGI demands that strict action be taken against the official and that concrete steps be taken to improve the environment for independent journalism in the state.

Thanks and regards,

Seema Mustafa, President

Sanjay Kapoor, General Secretary

Anant Nath, Treasurer

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