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Deeply disturbing that criminal laws are being used to intimidate journalists: Editors Guild

The Editors Guild of India noted two recent instances, in which one journalist was booked for sedition and the other sent a police notice, for their news reports.

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New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India has said there is “a growing pattern of misuse of criminal laws to intimidate journalists” in different parts of the country, which is “deeply disturbing”.

In a statement issued Wednesday, it cited the latest instances of Dhaval Patel, editor and owner of Gujarati news portal Face of Nation who was booked for “sedition” and detained by police on 11 May, and Mahender Singh Manral, special correspondent of The Indian Express who was sent a notice by the Delhi Police on 10 May.

“The government and the police must recognise that the media is an integral part of the governance structure in any democracy. The Guild condemns these actions and asks the state and central governments to desist from misusing the law to threaten the free press,” it said in the statement.

Patel was booked for publishing a report suggesting the possibility of a leadership change in Gujarat due to criticism over rising coronavirus cases. He was charged with sedition, under Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and spreading false panic (Section 54 of the Disaster Management Act).

“This is a misuse of special laws, besides sedition and IPC,” the Guild stated.

It also called the Delhi Police’s action against Manral “egregious and high-handed”.

The Delhi Police had sent the notice to Manral through the City Editor and Chief Reporter of The Indian Express, 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 on 10 May.

“While Manral wasn’t charged under any law, he was threatened that failure to join the probe could result in legal action under Section 174 of the IPC with punishment of a prison term and fine. This appears to be a little more than a fishing expedition to try and extract the journalist’s source and, thus, warn other reporters,” the Guild said.

Also read: Police await Covid-19 test result before arresting Gujarati journalist on sedition charge


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  1. There is one set of rules that applies to rabble-rousers and Göbbels re-incarnations like “journalist” Arnab Goswami who sing praises to the BJP and the Great Gujarathis; and a totally different set of rules for true journalists like Dhavai Patel.

    Clearly, Arnab Goswami lives a charmed life.

  2. Pappu & Mummy intimidate Arnab Goswami by filing hundreds of FIR…..
    Not “Deeply disturbing”???

  3. The days are not far when ThePrint jernos would also be booked under sedition laws for reporting fabricated anti national stories. Indian Express has become a platform for anti-national propaganda of India’s enemies. Such media houses should be closed down. Shekhar Gupta should also stop outsmarting by doing fair reporting himself but allowing anti-national propaganda through his jernos and authors.

    • Mr So defines what is anti-national ? A jingoistic, Hindutva touting, Godse worshipping, closet Nazi politician from the BJP ? Or a fellow traveller of that tribe like you Mr Or the courts ?

      And then, since when did criticism of a politician become an act of sedition ? Even during the terrible Emergency of Indira Gandhi, people were not booked for sedition. And then who the bloody hell are you to suggest that media houses that do not dance to your tunes be closed down? And have you ever checked up the meaning of the word sedition in a dictionary ? Not that I expect that they would be carrying dictionaries in your RSS shakha. Or that you and your itchy-groined gaurakshak buddies bother would be bothered to behave in accordance with the law of the land.

      DISGRACEFUL ! Utterly disgraceful that people like you would want to curb the few press freedoms that remain in India under the rule of the Delhi University graduate.

  4. Cabinet changes are the staple of speculation, some of which is carried out in the media. The last Assembly election in Gujarat was touch and go. The city of Surat tilted the scales. At that time I had posted that this would be a good time to bring a new CM. How could that constitute sedition.

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