UP journalist arrest: Editors Guild condemn state govt

UP journalist arrest: Editors Guild condemn state govt

The Editor's Guild called this act "cruel and classic case of shooting the messenger".

The Editors Guild of India issued a statement on Monday, urging the UP government to withdraw the cases filed by them against a journalist who reported on the mid-day meal in Siyur primary school in Mirzapur.

Condemning the FIR filed by the state government on Pawan Jaiswal, the guild also asked to "ensure that the journalist is not put to any further harm or harassment". 

Pawan Kumar Jaiswal, who was a local reporter for a Hindi daily, recorded a video of schoolchildren being served salt and roti as their midday meal, on Saturday. He was called by the village head Rajkumar Pal to run the story, which created a huge nationwide uproar.

The Editor's Guild called this act "cruel and classic case of shooting the messenger".

"It is precisely exposés such as these that show how valuable free and fearless journalists are to a democratic society. It is shocking that instead of taking action to fix what is wrong on the ground, the government has filed criminal cases against the journalist. Even if the government believes that his report is wrong, there are easy and conventional redresses available. Using the IPC and police is no way to respond to this," the statement said.

The Guild further expressed "grave concern over recent incidents of restrictions on the overseas travel of journalists" such as the denial of travel permission at the airport for journalist Gowhar Geelani.

"The law does indeed give the government such powers but only in the rarest of rare cases and following due procedure and disclosure. There must be transparency in these decisions," the statement said.

Jaiswal and Pal have been booked under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharging duty), 193 (false evidence) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code, a senior police officer said. Some unnamed persons are also mentioned in the first information report.