The Indian Women's Press Corps (IWPC) said the Ghaziabad police, under whose jurisdiction the alleged attack on the elderly man took place, is spending time and resources to go after the journalists and news organisations.
Journalist bodies on Wednesday demanded quashing of an FIR filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police against a news portal and a few journalists for circulating a video clip in which an elderly Muslim says he was beaten up and asked to chant “Jai Sri Ram”. Expressing ‘shock and disappointment’ with the police action, the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) said the Ghaziabad police, under whose jurisdiction the alleged attack on the elderly man took place, is spending time and resources to go after the journalists and news organisations.
This seems to be an attempt to muzzle the media and divert attention, the journalist body said.
“We urge the UP Police to focus on investigating the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice,? the IWPC said, adding, ?We demand that the FIR against journalists and news organisations be quashed.?
The Press Club of India (PCI) also demanded quashing of the FIR against the journalists, and appealed to the Uttar Pradesh government to intervene in the matter ‘at the earliest’ to ensure that journalists are not made ‘easy targets of police highhandedness by filing FIR against them’.
“The filing of the FIR clearly shows vendetta of Ghaziabad police to create a sense of state terror in the media and society at large,” the PCI said in a statement.
The Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday filed the FIR against Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India, news portal The Wire, scribes Mohammed Zubair and Rana Ayyub and senior journalist and author Saba Naqvi as well as Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Masqoor Usmani and Sama Mohammad for sharing the video clip on the social media.
The IWPC and the PCI both contended that the follow-up news stories and the tweets based on the incidents, which were already in the public domain, in no way violated the public order, spread hatred and social tensions as alleged in the FIR.
“As reported by the media, and as seen in a video that was widely circulated, an elderly gentleman belonging to the minority community was attacked and abducted by some miscreants in the Loni area of Ghaziabad,” the IWPC said.
“The appalling incident was a crime against a senior citizen belonging to a minority community, and the assault seemed communal in nature,” the IWPC added.
The IWPC urged all media organisations and journalists to raise their voice against ‘such motivated attempts’ to isolate and attack journalists, as well as undermine the right to freedom of speech and expression.