Editors Guild Urges UP CM to Release Jailed Journalists

Adityanath had said that the arrest of Arnab Goswami was an “assault on the fourth pillar of democracy.”

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The Editors Guild of India on Monday, 9 November, urged Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to address the issue of press freedom and the safety of journalists in the state.

“We are writing to urge you to address vital issues with respect to protecting press freedom and the rights and safety of working journalists, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. 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,” began the letter, signed by Guild President Seema Mustafa,  General Secretary Sanjay Kapoor, and Treasurer Anant Nath


In the letter, the Guild also mentions the arrest of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami in the suicide abetment case. The letter states that the Chief Minister is right to “uphold the freedom of the press” but “there are far more compelling cases of intimidation, harassment by authorities of working journalists in UP, who were prevented from doing their job. Many of them have been unjustifiably arrested on spurious charges,” the letter states.

Adityanath, during a Bihar poll rally, had said that the arrest of Arnab Goswami was an “assault on the fourth pillar of democracy.”

“As the Chief Minister of India’s largest state, you are well aware of the important precedence that the state sets with respect to safeguarding all constitutional rights. This is especially crucial with respect to persevering the space for free media, more so at a time when the world has been in the throes of a pandemic,” the letter further mentions.

The letter also mentions the cases that have been filed on “spurious charges” against journalists in Uttar Pradesh.

It includes the arrest of journalist Siddiqui Kappan, a Delhi-based journalist working for Malayalam news portal Azhimukham, who was picked up in Mathura while on his way to report the rape in Hathras in October and booked under Section 17 of the UAPA.

The list also includes cases against Supriya Sharma, Executive Editor of Scroll; Ravindra Saxena, who reported on the mismanagement of a quarantine centre of Maholi tehsil of Sitapur, and was booked under SC/ST Act and the Disaster Management Act; Asad Rizvi, a Lucknow-based freelance journalist, who was assaulted by the police on 2 October while he was reporting on protests in the city in the aftermath of the Hathras rape case and 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.

The Guild urged Yogi Aditynath to free the jailed journalists, withdraw cases that are under review, as well as to ensure the safety of all working journalists in the state.

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