‘In Mental Stress’: UP Journalist Booked for Mid-Day Meal Video
Journalist Pawan Jaiswal has demanded that the case against him be withdrawn.
After an FIR was filed against him for making a video of children being fed salt and roti for mid-day meal in UP, journalist Pawan Jaiswal said the case is causing him mental stress.
Jaiswal, in a recent 40-second video, has alleged that despite protests by fellow journalists against the FIR and condemnation by the Editors Guild of India, the case has not been withdrawn and it is stopping him to continue his work as a journalist.
“It is causing me mental stress. Because of it (the case), I am unable to do my job,” Jaiswal can be heard saying in the video tweeted by journalist Alok Pandey.
In a statement released on 2 September, the Editors Guild of India had condemned the FIR sections against Jaiswal, and said that it was a “classic case of shooting the messenger”.
The guild urged the government to withdraw the case and ensure that the journalist is not put through any other form of harassment.
An FIR was filed against Jaiswal after he reported that a school in Mirzapur district was serving kids only salt and roti for mid-day meal. The video went viral on 22 August, triggering widespread outrage and leading to the suspension of two teachers.
District magistrate Anurag Patel had said, “Such irregularities were happening because of the mismanagement of teachers”.
Following this, Jaiswal, village head representative Rajkumar Pal and unidentified people were booked under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharging duty), 193 (false evidence) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, a senior officer said.
The FIR was lodged on the complaint of Mirzapur block education officer Prem Shankar Ram at Ahiraura police station.
CASE SO FAR
According to the complaint, Jaiswal and Pal conspired and deliberately made the video in a well-planned manner and did "despicable work" of maligning the image of the state government by recording a video of school children being served salt and roti in mid-day meal.
The FIR states that Pal was aware that only rotis were cooked and vegetable was not cooked in the Siyur Primary School in Jamalpur block of Mirzapur district, but "instead of arranging it", he called the journalist, who works in print media, and "pressed him to run it" in electronic media.
"The journalist shot the video on his mobile and shared it to a electronic media agency," it said.
‘THIS IS AGAINST JOURNALISM’: JAISWAL DENIES ALLEGATIONS
Jaiswal denied the allegations after the FIR was filed. "This is against journalism. You can see the news and verify it," he told a television channel. "Nothing is being created. I had told everything (to officials)."
He said he had reached the school for covering the news and also informed additional basic education officer Brijesh Kumar Singh about the visit, PTI reported.
"I shot the first video at 12.07 pm and informed my colleagues, who informed the DM," he said. "The DM did a probe even before the news was run and suspended many." "Later, the matter became high profile. To save themselves, a number of cases have been lodged against me," the journalist said.
Basic Education Minister Satish Dwivedi had said the action against the journalist for merely exposing corruption and highlighting reality should not have been taken.
"I will see what is the real matter. Action only for exposing corruption and highlighting reality should not have been taken," the basic education minister told reporters.
JOURNALISTS PROTEST FIR AGAINST JAISWAL
A day after a case was filed, over 100 journalists staged a protest on Tuesday, 3 September, at the Mirzapur Collectorate office, NDTV reported.
They said that Journalist Pawan Kumar Jaiswal has been targeted for doing his job.
"We are protesting because our reporter exposed how school children were being fed rotis and salt. The video he shot went viral, the district magistrate himself went to the spot and he said this was true. Is it wrong to expose to truth?" said Sanjay Dubey, district chief of Jansandesh Times to NDTV.
(With inputs from PTI)
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