Updated: June 14, 2021 8:44:50 pm
Expressing shock over the Uttar Pradesh Police’s approach in handling TV journalist Sulabh Srivastava’s case, the Editors Guild of India on Monday alleged the cops did not pay heed to concerns he flagged before his death. Raising the issue of freedom of press, the body said journalists critical of the central and state governments are being targeted and unjustifiably charged with sedition cases.
In a statement, the journalists’ body said, “The Editors Guild of India is shocked by the cavalier manner in which Uttar Pradesh Police is treating the mysterious death of TV journalist, Sulabh Srivastava, in Pratapgarh. Srivastava, who had been threatened by the liquor mafia for exposing their wrongdoings, had recently written a letter to the police expressing grave apprehensions for his life. He believed that some people were following him. The authorities paid no heed to his fears.”
The Editors Guild of India is shocked by the cavalier manner in which Uttar Pradesh Police is treating the mysterious death of TV journalist, Sulabh Srivastava, in Pratapgarh. pic.twitter.com/KqYKwByMfe
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) June 14, 2021
Srivastava, who worked for ABP News and ABP Ganga, was found dead on Sunday night. Just a day before his death, he wrote to the Uttar Pradesh Police, saying he felt threatened following his recent reportage of liquor mafias in the district. Seeking protection, Srivastava had said he had been informed by sources that the liquor mafia was angry with him after the publication of his report and wanted to harm him or his family.
In spite of this, the police is “passing off his death as being caused by an accident, that his bike rammed into a hand pump”, the journalists’ body pointed out.
The statement also drew attention to the timing of Srivastava’s death and said it has come at a time when news media is under “pressures from central and state governments” to follow the “official narrative regarding the administration’s handling of the pandemic”. “What is more worrying is that the police and the local authorities liberally and unjustifiably use laws such as sedition and UAPA to file charge and arrest journalists. This is against the spirit of the judgment given by the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath Singh case and re-iterated in the recent sedition case against Vinod Dua,” the statement added.
They went on to allege that journalists and cartoonists critical of the government are also being targeted on social media under pressures from the government on such platforms. “All of this contrary is contrary to the commitments that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made at the G-7 summit to democracy, openness and against authoritarianism,” they stated.
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