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Monday, August 02, 2021

Heavy-handedness by UP authorities against media disturbing, says Editors Guild

The remark comes just days after a journalist alleged he was beaten up by Chief Development Officer (CDO) Divyanshu Patel and BJP workers while he was reporting from a polling centre in Unnao.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
July 12, 2021 7:53:57 pm
Police personnel baton charge on locals allegedly causing ruckus during the block head elections, in Ayodhya district, Saturday, July 10, 2021. (PTI)

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Monday said that it is “deeply disturbed” by the “continuing trend of heavy-handedness” by authorities in Uttar Pradesh against journalists and media.

The remark comes just days after a journalist alleged he was beaten up by Chief Development Officer (CDO) Divyanshu Patel and BJP workers while reporting from a polling centre in Unnao. The video of the incident had gone viral on social media.

“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,” the body said in a statement.

It also mentioned Siddique Kappan, the journalist who was arrested while reporting on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras in October 2020. “He (Kappan) 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,” the statement said.

The journalist’s body also said that even though CDO subsequently offered apology to Patel, the 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.

In the statement, the body demanded strict action against the official and said that concrete steps be must be taken to improve the environment for independent journalism in Uttar Pradesh.

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