Hyderabad: The Editors Guild of India issued a statement on Tripura violence stating that the Editors Guild of India is deeply shocked by the Tripura police’s action of booking 102 people, including journalists, under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, for reporting and writing on the recent communal violence in the state.
It said that the state police have sent notices to various social media platforms under UAPA and this move came just after the police had filled UAPA charges against some Delhi based lawyers who had visited Tripura as a part of an independent fact-finding inquiry commission into the communal violence.
According to the Editors Guild press release, journalist Shyam Meera Singh has allegedly been booked under UAPA for merely tweeting ‘Tripura burning’.
“This is an extremely disturbing trend where such harsh law, wherein the processes of investigation and bail applications are extremely rigorous and overbearing, is being used for merely reporting on and protesting against communal violence.” the statement read.
The Guild opined that this attempt by the state government to deflect attention away from its own failure to control majoritarian violence, as well as to take action against perpetrators of this and government cannot use stringent law like UAPA to suppress reporting on such incidents.
The Editors Guild demanded that the state government conduct an objective and fair investigation into the circumstances of the riots instead of penalizing journalists and civil society activists.
Lastly, the Guild reiterated its earlier demand to the Supreme Court of India to take cognizance of the matter in which such laws are unjustifiably used against freedom of speech, and issue stringent guidelines on charging journalists under them so that these laws don’t become an easy tool for suppressing press freedom.
The press statement was signed by Editors Guild of India president Seema Mustafa, general secretary Sanjay Kapoor, and treasurer Anath Nath.