New Delhi: The Editors Guild of India has taken a serious note of the police lodging FIRs against journalists in different states on the basis of “frivolous” complaints, condemning the latest instance in which veteran journalist Vinod Dua has been booked by the Delhi Police.
In a statement issued Monday, the Guild said it is deeply concerned by the growing tendency among police in various states “to take cognisance of frivolous charges” against journalists and convert them into an FIR.
“The latest instance is of the Delhi Police’s FIR against veteran journalist Vinod Dua, based on a complaint by Naveen Kumar, who has been identified as a spokesperson of the Bharatiya Janata Party,” the statement read.
It added the accusations are a “brazen attack on his right to free speech and fair comment”.
“An FIR based on this is an instrument of harassment setting off a process that is itself a punishment,” it said.
“The Guild unequivocally condemns this practice and urges the police to respect Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms rather than behave in a manner that raises questions on its independence,” it said.
Last week, the Delhi Police registered a case against Dua for alleged misreporting on the Delhi riots in February through his show on YouTube. Dua had called the Prime Minister “toothless” and said the central government did nothing to stop the violence during the riots.
On the complaint of Naveen Kumar, the Delhi Police registered a case under Sections 290 (punishment for public nuisance in cases not otherwise provided for) and 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) and 505(2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes) of the IPC.