Editors Guild condemns FIR against journalist

The Editors Guild of India (ECI) and various other media bodies on Sunday condemned the Unique Identification Authority of India's decision to lodge an FIR against an English daily and its woman correspondent for publishing a report on how demographic data associated with Aadhaar numbers were being sold by anonymous people over WhatsApp for as little as Rs 500.

The Guild termed UIDAI's move an effort to curb the freedom of the press. It demanded the immediate withdrawal of the case against the scribe and an "an impartial investigation" into the matter.

"The Guild condemns UIDAI's action to have the Tribune reporter booked by the police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest. It is unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press," the Guild said in a statement.

The UIDAI should have ordered "a thorough internal investigation into the alleged breach" and made its findings public, it said.

"Such FIRs against journalists exposing systemic flaws is a spiteful kick in the teeth of Indian democracy and the right to free speech and expression. It's a toxic trend, which must stop forthwith," the Broadcast Editors Association (BEA) said.

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