The Chandigarh Press Club has criticised the Delhi Police for threatening The Indian Express’ Delhi-based journalist Mahender Singh Manral with criminal prosecution if he did not join a probe and subsequently creating pressure on the journalist to disclose his sources . The Delhi police action, members said, is highly condemnable and against the ethics of independent journalism.
The Delhi Police sent a notice to The Indian Express reporter, through the city editor and chief reporter, requiring the journalist, who had reported that police investigations found the possibility of the audio clip of Tablighi Jamaat leader, Maulana Saad, being doctored, to join a probe on this matter.
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“The police rejoinder was duly published by the newspaper along with the reporter’s comments. The matter should have ended there, but the Delhi Police went on to victimise The Indian Express reporter by threatening him with criminal prosecution if he did not join a probe,” said Saurabh Duggal, Secretary General, adding that the Chandigarh Press Club stands in solidarity with the reporter.
Anil Gupta and Ruchika M. Khanna, president and general secretary of the Tribune employees union, also condemned the Delhi police for compelling the IE journalist to report to the crime branch under the threat of criminal prosecution.
The Indian Express employees union Chandigarh president, Raj Kumar Srivastava and general secretary Sunil Saini, also condemned the Delhi police action. They said the action against Manral smacks of vindictiveness and amounts to a direct attack on the freedom of media, and is a threat to freedom of speech and expression.