The Editors Guild of India on Monday issued a statement on the FIR against veteran journalist Vinod Dua and said that it was "a brazen attack on his free speech and fair comment".
"The Editors Guild of India is deeply concerned by the growing tendency among the police in various states to take cognisance of frivolous charges against journalists and convert them into a First Investigation Report (FIR)," they wrote.
The Guild said that the FIR against Dua was "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 the manner that raises questions on its independence," they added.
On Friday, the Delhi police said they had registered an FIR against senior journalist Vinod Dua for allegedly "making statements conducing to public mischief" on the complaint of BJP spokesperson Naveen Kumar.
In his complaint to the Crime Branch, Kumar accused Dua of "spreading fake news" through "The Vinod Dua Show" on YouTube. Dua said, "I have not yet been contacted by the police. I cannot react to it at this point." Dua was also accused by Kumar of "misreporting" on the Delhi communal violence and stating that the "central government had done nothing to stop the violence".
Kumar has alleged that Dua had called the Prime Minister "toothless". "The journalist Mr Vinod Dua has blatantly lied or has misinformed his viewers about the series of events. There are also a series of old instances where bizarre and unfounded allegations have been made against the government, police and political leaders. The reporting's full of false content misleading context...(sic)" Kumar said in his complaint.
(With PTI inputs)