Journalists under fire: India Editors Guild expresses concern


The Editors Guild of India issued a statement Monday saying it was concerned over journalists being targeted with police cases filed against them.

The statement mentioned the case filed against veteran journalist Vinod Dua as a part of a “growing tendency among police in various states to take cognizance of frivolous charges against journalists and convert them into a First Information Report (FIR)”.

The Delhi police’s FIR against Dua has been filed based o the complaint by Naveen Kumar, “who has been identified as a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party,” the statement pointed out. “The accusations are a brazen attack on his right to free speech and fair comment.

“An FIR based on this is an instrument of harassment setting off a process that itself is a punishment,” it added.

The case against Dua was filed on June 4 alleging “misreporting” on the recent communal riots in Delhi, “derogatory” comments about Congress party leader Jyotiraditya Scindia joining the BJP, and Dua’s comments on the Vyapam scam about medical recruitments.

The Editors Guild had on May 13 had issued another statement, deploring “a growing pattern of misuse of criminal laws to intimidate journalists across the country”. It had cited two cases, including of sedition against the editor of a Gujarati news portal for speculation over change of the chief minister for the handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In April this year, India dropped two places on the World Press Freedom Index index to be ranked 142nd out of 180 countries in the annual Reporters Without Borders analysis.

The report had cited “constant press freedom violations, including police violence against journalists, ambushes by political activists, and reprisals instigated by criminal groups or corrupt local officials”.

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