Journalists facing heat in UP

Journalists facing heat in UP

In the past four months, over a dozen journalists from the print, electronic and social media were either booked or arrested on charges ranging from objectionable posts against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to defaming the government and circulating fake news.

Journalists, especially those exposing the deficiency in the system, also appear to be on the radar of the Uttar Pradesh police along with the criminals. 

In the past four months, over a dozen journalists from the print, electronic and social media were either booked or arrested on charges ranging from objectionable posts against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to defaming the government and circulating fake news.

In June this year, three scribes, including a freelance journalist, were arrested on charges of making and posting "objectionable" comments on Adityanath. One of them was accused of uploading a video in which a woman claimed she had sent a marriage proposal to Adityanath.

The Supreme Court, however, came down heavily on the state government for arresting the scribe and ordered his immediate release.

In another case, five journalists were booked in Bijnore district for reporting social discrimination against members of the SC community. The SC members were not allowed to draw water from a hand pump, which was used by members of the upper castes.

Last month, five journalists were booked for spreading "fake news" on social media in Noida. The police claimed that the scribes operated in a gang and put pressure on the government officials to help those who were accused of flouting the rules.

Barely a few days back, a scribe who had recorded a video showing children at a primary school in Uttar Pradesh's Mirzapur district eating namak-roti (chapati-salt) as mid-day meal, was booked for defaming the state government.

The Editors Guild of India had condemned the UP government's action against the journalist and demanded the withdrawal of cases against the scribe.

A few days later, a print journalist was arrested in Azamgarh district for allegedly clicking pictures of children mopping floors of their school building. Last month, a TV journalist was stripped and tortured by the GRP personnel in Shamli district for recording a train mishap there. In Saharanpur town, a scribe of a leading Hindi newspaper was shot dead by miscreants.

"UP government does not want anyone to expose the deficiency in the system... the action against journalists strikes at the very foundation of the freedom of speech and expression," said a senior journalist while speaking to DH here.

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav slammed the UP government for action against the journos.

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