The N M Joshi Marg police have registered a First Information Report (FIR) against four journalists of Republic TV on Friday for allegedly defaming Mumbai Police and causing 'disaffection' in its ranks. The FIR names four employees of Republic TV-- anchor and deputy news editor Shivani Gupta, anchor and senior associate editor Sagarika Mitra, deputy editor Shawan Sen and executive editor Niranjan Narayanswami, along with the editorial staff and newsroom in-charge for the airing of the report in question and others.
The FIR was lodged by Police Sub-Inspector Shashikant Pawar of Special Branch I, in which he named the accused for airing a report on Thursday evening against Commissioner of Police Parambir Singh, which claimed that senior officers were revolting against him. The Republic TV report had claimed the city police chief was 'hell-bent on tarnishing the image of Mumbai Police single-handedly' and 'rebellion is brewing among the Mumbai Police itself which is, of course, a matter of ... institutional credibility'.
These statements made by the news channel amounted to incitement to disaffection among members of the police force and defamation of the force. The report suggested that Singh was using his power as the CP to settle personal scores and many officers were unhappy with his conduct.
In his statement, PSI Pawar said the language and terminology used in the report was very disheartening and discouraging for the entire force. Based on the FIR, the accused people were booked under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for incitement to disaffection and defamation.
In its reaction, the news channel said the FIR was a 'shocking assault on media rights', adding that that it would fight every 'strong-arm tactic'. "In a brazen, blatant and shocking attack on press freedom by Mumbai Police, Republic Media Network has been issued notice to submit details of every transaction since inception and list every single journalist and employee. We will fight each and every strongarm tactic," the channel said.