R-Day violence: Editors Guild demands FIRs against journalists be withdrawn

R-Day violence: Editors Guild demands FIRs against journalists be withdrawn

They were booked under sedition, other charges for coverage of farmers’ rally on 26 January

Editors Guild

NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India has strongly condemned the “intimidating manner” in which the UP and MP police have registered FIRs against senior journalists for reporting on the farmers’ protests in Delhi on 26 January. It said that these FIRs are an attempt to “intimidate, harass, and stifle free media.” 

The guild has demanded that the FIRs be withdrawn immediately and the media be allowed to report “without fear and with freedom.”

Six journalists, including India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, National Herald’s Zafar Agha, Caravan’s Ananth Nath, Vinod Jose, and Paresh Nath, were booked for sedition, among other charges, over the violence during the farmers’ tractor rally against the three farm laws. 

The Guild in a press statement released Friday noted, “These journalists have been specifically targeted for reporting accounts pertaining to the death of one of the protestors on their personal social media handles as well as the publications they lead and represent. It must be noted that on the day of the protest and high action, several reports were emerging from eyewitnesses on the ground as well as from police, and therefore it was only natural for journalists to report all the details as they emerged. This is in line with established norms of journalistic practice.”

It added that the FIRs allege that the tweets were intentionally malicious and were the reason for the desecration of the Red Fort. “Nothing can be further from truth.” 



In related news, India Today has reportedly taken Rajdeep Sardesai off-air for a period of two weeks and docked his one month’s salary over a tweet spreading misinformation that a farmer died after being hit by police bullets on the day of the rally.