Lucknow: Editors Guild of India has pulled up the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath over the “unjust” action and arrest of six journalists in the state in the past few months.
In a scathing letter on Monday, with the subject line as “Protection of Press Freedom and Journalists Rights In UP”, the apex media body asks Yogi, “In the recent past, several incidents come to fore which raise deep concern on the space for free, fearless and independent journalism in UP. While you upheld the freedom of the press when an editor of a TV channel was arrested in Mumbai, there are far more compelling cases of harassment of scribes in UP.”
“As the chief minister of India’s largest state, you are well aware of the important precedence that states set with respect to safeguarding all constitutional rights. This is especially crucial in the time of pandemic as the media has played important role in raising awareness about the disease,” the letter states.
The letter lists out six cases: Siddique Kappan (A journalist reporting for Kerala-based media) who was booked for reportage in Hathras case, Supriya Sharma (Scroll editor) for a story on a hungry woman in Varanasi village during the lockdown, Asad Rizvi (independent scribe) who was assaulted for reporting a protest in Lucknow on October 2, three journos booked for a story on atrocities against a Valmiki community and revoked the case later, cases against two journos of Janadesh Times who reported about the plight of Mushar families in Varanasi and Ravindra Saxena who was booked for reporting the poor state of a quarantine center at Sitapur.
The guild has urged the CM to free/withdraw cases against these journos. It has also suggested sending a team of senior editors who can sit with the administration to devise ways to create a protective environment for the media to work without fear or fervor.