Hyderabad: On January 6, Telangana police detained at least 40 journalists and Youtube content creators for their alleged anti-KCR stance allegedly. The reporters who were jailed said that they were harassed for covering the Huzurabad by-election in October of last year.
According to a report by The News Minute, the reporters said they were “interrogated for about 12 hours on their ‘anti-KCR’ stance“. Musham Srinivas, a journalist with the Telugu digital news channel Tolivelugu, stated that he was asked questions such as, “Why are you criticising the government? Why are you so adamantly opposed to the chief minister?”
Srinivas further mentioned, “About four or five special operations team police officers in plainclothes stormed into his Hyderabad hotel room and bundled me into a car… I was kept for about 12 hours without a solid reason. They formatted my phone after seizing it, which is even another violation of the law.”
Similarly, G Shivaram and Praveen Reddy, who handle the YouTube channels GSR TV and Right Voice, respectively, were allegedly detained by Karimnagar police for operating the channels “without permission.”
“Individuals, celebrities, officials, public figures, prime minister, chief minister, ministers, MPs are being individually targeted in a very insulting manner on social media,” Karimnagar commissioner of police V Satyanarayana told The News Minute. Posts promoting hatred between groups are being created. This is a violation of the IT Act, he said.
“They are not registered with any media house,” the police commissioner stated of Shivaram and Reddy’s detention. They lack accreditation and the permission of the information and public relations department.”
In addition to targeting independent journalists, Telangana police have also lately threatened to cancel the passports of Non-Resident Indians who make hateful or defamatory posts on social media.
Hyderabad Police Commissioner CV Anand stated that the passports and visas of those detected publishing hateful posts would be revoked.