A media body on Saturday described as "an act of intimidation" the filing of an FIR in Uttar Pradesh against a journalist over a report on the impact of the lockdown on a village, saying it was part of an "established pattern" of harassment of independent scribes.
In a statement, the Media Foundation put on record its strong protest over the FIR filed by the Uttar Pradesh government against Supriya Sharma, executive editor of news portal Scroll.in.
The case was filed against Sharma for allegedly misrepresenting facts in a report on the impact of the lockdown in a village adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, police sources had said on Thursday.
The FIR against Sharma and the Scroll editor-in-chief is an "an act of intimidation and a case of abuse of process", intended to discourage honest and critical reporting, the Media Foundation said.
The Media Foundation was started in 1979 with the aim of upholding freedom of speech, expression and information.
The FIR against Sharma is only the latest instance of similar coercive actions against professional journalists, part of "an established pattern of harassment and humiliation of independent journalists", it said,
"It is an unacceptable encroachment on press freedom," said the foundation, whose chairperson is veteran journalist Harish Khare.
The Media Foundation called upon the judiciary, and central and state governments to uphold the spirit of freedom of speech and expression as guaranteed in the Constitution.