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Editors Guild of India statement on ED raids at the office of NewsClick.in, and residences of its senior journalists and officials

The Editors Guild of India is deeply concerned about the raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), at the office of the independent news website NewsClick.in, the residences of its editor-in-chief and promoter, the editor, as well as some of its senior management officials.

In the recent past the website has been at the frontline of reporting on the farmers agitation, the anti-CAA protests, and has been critical of various government policies and of a few powerful corporates houses.

EGI is concerned that raids by government agencies are not used as coercive measures to suppress free and independent journalism. The Guild demands that care be taken to not undermine the news operations of NewsClick and that it’s journalists and stakeholders are not harassed under the garb of such measures.


Editors Guild of India

[Press Statement dt. 10-02-2021]

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Editors Guild of India is concerned about the news coverage of the farmers’ protests in the national capitals, wherein certain sections of the media have been labelling them as “Khalistanis”, “anti-nationals”, and other such terms to delegitimize the protests without any evidence or proof. This goes against the tenets of responsible and ethical journalism. Such actions compromise the credibility of the media.

EGI advises media organizations to display fairness, objectivity, and balance in reporting the farmers’ protests, without displaying partisanship against those who are exercising their constitutional rights to express themselves.

Media shouldn’t be complicit to any narrative that derogates dissent and stereotypes protestors based on their attire and ethnicity.


Editors Guild of India

[Media Advisory dt. 04-12-2020]

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The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement on the arrest of Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of Republic TV.

Editors Guild of India is shocked to learn about the arrest of Arnab Goswami, editor in chief of Republic TV, in the early hours of Wednesday by the police. Goswami was arrested from his Mumbai residence on reportedly on abetment of suicide case.

EGI condemns the sudden arrest and found it extremely distressing.

Guild calls upon the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to ensure that Goswami is treated fairly and state power is not used against critical reporting by the media.


Editors Guild of India

[Press Statement dt. 04-11-2020]

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In a press statement released on 26th September, the Editors Guild of India led by President Seema Mustafa, General Secretary Sanjay Kapoor and Treasurer Anant Nath, has expressed pain and anguish over hundreds of FIRs being filed against journalists of Republic TV. The said channel is being probed for allegedly manipulating TRPs and spreading discontent against the Mumbai Police.

Victimization of Journalists is Wrong

The Guild has emphasized that it does not wish to influence the probe by the authorities but the victimization of the journalists must stop.  Even if they recognize that the probe has potential to bring in much needed transparency on the issue of TRP manipulation and proceeds of crime, even then victimisation of journalists is not warranted.

Limits of Investigative Journalism being crossed

The Guild also expressed displeasure over Republic’s high-strung conduct covering the unfortunate demise of Sushant Singh Rajput, especially the harangue directed at actor Rhea Chakraborty. They said that the pertinent questions asked by the Bombay High Court to the channel, such as “Is this part of investigative journalism? Asking the public about their opinion on who should be arrested?” must be addressed by all media.  Also, they noted that the Court wondered whether the media was encroaching upon the domain of the police. Similar reservations about Republic’s conduct has been expressed even by the News Broadcaster’s association (NBA) that disagrees with it’s reporting.

Both Media and Police Should Act Responsibly

The police should ensure that media rights are not suppressed by arrest of journalists and the channel should ensure that collective credibility of media should not be affected and the safety of journalists are not compromised by such reporting. Right to free speech does not mean a licence to promote hate speech. It is important to maintain balance between media freedom and the imperative for it to reside within the rule of law.

Ed. Note: Bombay High Court has been wrongly identified as Mumbai High Court in the statement


*Associate Editor, EBC Publishing Pvt. Ltd.

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The Editors Guild of India notes with dismay and concern the vindictive manner in which governments, including their agencies, acted against media organisations.

On October 15, Prasar Bharati, the Union government’s public broadcasting agency, cancelled its subscription of news services from the Press Trust of India (PTI), the country’s largest news service provider. This followed Prasar Bharati’s decision to invite fresh proposals for a digital subscription to English text and related multimedia services from all domestic news agencies. The PTI is also allowed to submit its proposals once they are invited as are other news service providers like the UNI, whose arrangement too has been cancelled.

A few months ago, a senior official of Prasar Bharati had criticised the PTI for what he believed was its “anti-national coverage” of news pertaining to India-China ties.

On the same day in the Keonjhar district of Odisha, the state police picked up a senior journalist, Ramesh Rath, employed with a regional news channel, OTV, on charges of having circulated an obscene video last year. OTV has stated that the journalist has been targeted for having done a series of reports exposing the Biju Janata Dal government in Odisha, although the state police has denied the allegations, saying that no arrest has yet been made.

The Guild believes that such actions threaten as well as undermine the independent functioning of the media organisations. These should be withdrawn forthwith.


Editors Guild of India

Press Statement dt. 16-10-2020]

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After the media persons were prevented from reporting the development in  and around Hathras after the Hathras Gang Rape case, the Editors Guild of India has issued a statement condemning the same.

“The Editors Guild Of India condemns the manner in which the law enforcement agencies of the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Yogi Adityanath, have prevented media persons from reporting on developments in and around Hathras after a brutal assault on a woman leading to her death and the hurried cremation of her body by the authorities without the presence of the family of the deceased.”

The statement also shows displeasure over the way the government has tapped the telephones of journalists engaged in covering the Hathras incidents.

“Worse, the tapped conversation of the journalists has been selectively leaked, leading to a social media calumny against them.”

The Guild states that such conduct of the law enforcement agencies of the Uttar Pradesh government undermines and obstructs the functioning of the media. It has, hence, demanded that the government creates conditions in Hathras that do not obstruct journalists in any way.

The statement also states,

“Hathras is the worst such case in the scale of interference but the Guild also notes with concern that such attacks against the media are becoming part of a growing trend seen in recent months, in which a few other state governments have also indulged in such harassment of journalists.”

Read the statement here


Also read

Hathras Gang-Rape | “Shocked by reports of events that led to victim’s cremation”, All HC orders registration of Suo Motu PIL

Gang Rape & brutality of 19-year-old women belonging to Scheduled Caste in Hathras district, UP: NHRC takes suo motu cognizance

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Editors Guild of India is concerned by growing tendency among police in various states to take cognisance of frivolous charges against journalists and convert them into an FIR

The Editors Guild of India is deeply concerned by the growing tendency among police in various states to take cognisance of frivolous charges against journalists and convert them into a First Information Report (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 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.

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.


Editors Guild of India

[Statement dt. 08-06-2020]

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Editors Guild of India issues statement condemning the acts of violence and brutality committed by by police forces, in particular those in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, against media persons in dfferent parts of the country in last one week.

Guild reminds the police forces across the country that journalists are present at different venues, where protests are taking place, as part of their Constitutionality guranteed duties of gathering information and disseminating it among the people through tehir respective media platforms. Using force or physical volence against journalists on duty throttles the very voice of democracy and media freedom.

The Guild urges the Union Home Ministry to direct police forces in different states to offer adequate protection to journalists engaged in coverage of the ongoing protests. Instead of targeting them forphysical attack, the need of the hour is to ensure proper and reponsible coverage, a goal that cannot be achieved by by such acts of violence and brutality against journalists on duty.


Editors Guild of India

[Press Statement dt. 23-12-2019]

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Statement issued by — Editors Guild of India

The Editors Guild of India has deplored the indefensible acts of violence perpetrated on employees of Prag News, a 24X7 Assamese news channel, by police forces.

The Guild’s attention has been drawn to a social media video that shows uniformed policemen running amok outside the Prag News offices, targeting cameramen belonging to the television channel with their batons. The Guild demands that an inquiry should be instituted to identify those who indulged in such violence against journalists and punish the guilty.

The Guild is also concerned over the recent advisory issued by the ministry of information and broadcasting to all private television channels asking them to desist from broadcasting content that could incite violence or cause law and order problems or ‘anti-national’ feelings.

The Guild believes that the media’s overall commitment to responsible coverage of developments in the country should not be questioned through such an advisory. It is the media’s responsibility to report freely and truthfully and fairly. The Guild decries such a regressive advisory that interferes in the functioning of a free media, and urges the government to withdraw it.


Editors Guild of India

[Statement dt. 14-12-2019]

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Statement Issued by Editors Guild of India

While some visiting journalists may be able to file their reports once they are out of the Valley, the lockdown is almost total and draconian for the vibrant local media that are the first eyes and ears on the ground. The Government knows very well that it is impossible to process and publish news now without the internet. It owes it to the people of India, including all in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, to allow the press, a vital institution of democracy, to function freely.

In a situation such as that prevailing in Jammu & Kashmir at present, the role of free media, unhindered by such restrictions, becomes critically important in helping dissemination of news and in its democratic duty of keeping a watch on institutions of government and security.

The Guild underlines the imprudence in creating an unfair distinction in the treatment: for access, curfew passes, communication between local journalists and those coming in to report from outside. All journalists and all Indian citizens are entitled to equal freedoms.

The Guild urges the government to take immediate steps to restore normalcy for the media’s communication links. Media transparency has and always should be India’s strength, not fear.

The Guild expresses its appreciation for and solidarity to all journalists reporting from the ground despite unprecedented challenges. The Guild requests all, especially the government, to ensure their safety and freedom of movement.


[Statement Release dt. 10-08-2019]

Editors Guild of India

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Supreme Court: The Court has stayed the Meghalaya High Court judgment holding The Shillong Times editor Patricia Mukhim and publisher Shoba Chaudhuri guilty of contempt. The High Court had also imposed a fine of Rs. 2 lakhs each on both the contemnors.

Backdrop

The Government of Meghalaya decided to withdraw the protocol services provided to retired Judges and their family members without consulting the High Court. The Chief Justice convened a meeting of Government Officers concerned wherein they were asked to immediately restore the protocol services to retired Judges and their family members. However, no action was taken for 2 months and consequently, a suo motu proceeding was endorsed to the Court to take up the matter. Notice was issued but since the Government remained silent, the Court passed the necessary order ordering the Government to comply with its directions within a month. This order is at heart of the controversy. Report, dated 10-12-2018, captioned “When Judges judge for themselves” were published in Shillong Times, an English daily newspaper. Referring to the aforementioned order, the Report stated,

Justice SR Sen, who is set to retire in March, wanted several facilities for the retired chief justice and judges, their spouses and children“.

Furthermore, Patricia Mukhim took the help of social media where, according to the Court, she even went to extent of mocking judicial system of this country and passed certain remarks against the Amicus Curiae which, according to the Court, insulted members of the Bar.

Meghalaya High Court Judgment

Exercising power under Article 215, the Court sentenced the contemnors to sit in the corner of the Courtroom till rising of the Court. A fine of Rs 2 lakhs each was also imposed which was to be deposited with the Registry within a week. Further, “in default of payment, both the contemnors will have to undergo 6(six) months simple imprisonment and the paper so-called ‘Shillong Times’ will automatically come to an end (banned)”

The furious Court said:

“We would like to ask whether the contemnor, Patricia Mukhim wants to control the judiciary as per her desire and will? If it is so, she is very much wrong”. 

The Bench of Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, CJ and S.R. Sen, J, further said:

“The sacred duty of the media is to publish correct news, so that the actual fact reaches the people. They are not at all entitled to write as they like and slur the image of an individual or institution. The contemnors here must remember that though, they have the right to publish news and sell their papers, but it is limited, subject to their duties. They are not supposed to file any report without understanding the background of the case or verifying the truth. Only true news should be published not the false report and if anybody violates, they are liable for defamation and contempt of Courts”.

Statement Issued by Editors Guild of India

Deeply distressed over the Meghalaya High Court judgment, the Editor’s Guild of India issued a Statement where it urged the judiciary to exercise its constitutional powers with utmost caution and care so that the role of a free media in a democracy is duly respected. It said:

“It is ironical that the judiciary which should uphold press freedom has instead issued an order that militates against freedom of expression.”