The Editors Guild of India Monday urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to address the issue of upholding press freedom and the rights and safety of working journalists in the state.
“In the recent past, several incidents have come to fore, which raise deep concerns on the space for free, fearless and independent journalism in Uttar Pradesh,” the Guild said in a letter to Adityanath.
In its letter, the Guild also mentioned the arrest of Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami in a suicide abetment case and said that the chief minister was “right to promptly uphold the freedom of the press” there, but that “there are far more compelling cases of intimidation, harassment by authorities of working journalists in UP, who were prevented from doing their job.”
Adityanath had blamed the Congress for the arrest of journalist Arnab Goswami. “The arrest of senior journalist Mr Arnab Goswami ji is an attack on freedom of expression by the Congress party. The Congress, which is responsible for imposing emergency, is once again trying to throttle the democracy,” Adityanath had said in a tweet.
In its letter, the guild also mentioned the cases of some journalists facing legal action in Uttar Pradesh, including that of Siddique Kappan, a Delhi-based journalist working for a Malayalam news portal Azhimukham, who was arrested while on his way to Hathras to report the rape of a Dalit girl and was later booked under the UAPA.
The Guild also mentioned cases against Supriya Sharma, Executive Editor of Scroll; Ravindra Saxena, who reported about the mismanagement of a quarantine centre of Maholi tehsil of Sitapur, and was booked under SC/ST Act and the Disaster Management Act; Vijay Vineet and Manish Mishra of local daily Janadesh Times who were booked for showing visuals of children eating grass in Koiripur village in Varanasi district and Asad Rizvi, a Lucknow based freelance journalist, who was assaulted by the police on October 2, while he was reporting on protests in the city in the aftermath of the Hathras rape case.
Urging the chief minister to “free the jailed journalists and withdraw cases that are under review,” the Guild also requested Adityanath to ensure the safety of journalists in the state.
The journalists’ body also said that it is keen to send a delegation of national Editors to Lucknow to meet Adityanath and work with the Uttar Pradesh administration to create a protective environment for the media to work “without fear or favours” in the state.
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