DUJ SLAMS SEDITION CHARGES AGAINST JOURNALISTS… CALLING FOR WITHDRAWAL OF CASES…
The Delhi Union of Journalists salutes all the intrepid journalists who are braving the bitter cold to report night and day from the Delhi borders where farmers are protesting against the farm bills. We deeply regret the multiple attacks on journalists by the state and other actors at this polarised time. We are shocked that six journalists, including editors/owners have been slapped with sedition and several other charges for reportage on the farmer agitation. We are alarmed at the attempt to break into the house of Neha Dixit and the repeated threats she is receiving. Further, we are appalled at the fake news on social media about so called ‘women journalists’ being harassed by farmers.
Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, the editor of National Herald Zafar Agha, the editors of Caravan Vinod Jose and Ananth Nath and its editor/publisher Paresh Nath have been charged with sedition under S.124 A, besides charges under S.153A, 153B, 295A, 298, 504, 506, 505 (2), 34, 120 B of the Indian Penal Code as well as S.66 of the Information Technology Act. These Sections refer to promoting enmity between groups, outraging religious feelings, provoking breach of peace, criminal intimidation, public mischief, criminal conspiracy et al – a whole range of offences.
A non-bailable warrant in a defamation case filed by the Adani group was issued last week, by a lower court in Gujarat, against veteran investigative journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta.
Award winning journalist Neha Dixit has filed a police complaint about repeated threats of rape, acid attack and death, followed by an attempt to break into her house on January 25. Gutsy women journalists like Dixit continue to cover controversial issues despite such threats. Meanwhile, fake Twitter handles are being used to defame the farmers by alleging that women journalists covering the protests have been harassed. The fake handles in women’s names, with photographs of young women attached, repeat identical complaints — clearly the work of bots/trolls. This actually endangers women reporters who could be accused of spreading lies like other ‘godi media’.
The Delhi Union of Journalists demands the immediate withdrawal of the cases against the journalists. We reiterate our demand for a special law to protect media persons from arbitrary charges, arrests and prosecution for doing their job. We urge the repeal of draconian laws including the law on sedition. We ask for immediate investigation of the serious threats against Neha Dixit and prosecution of the guilty. We also demand that Twitter take down the fake handles immediately.