News Report

“Journalism cannot be prosecuted as ‘terrorism’” say Press groups to CJI

these organizations vehemently asserted that "Journalism cannot be prosecuted as ‘terrorism’" and appealed to the Chief Justice to "take immediate action before it's too late."

Journalism has long been considered the bedrock of our democracy. However, recent events have cast a shadow on this foundational pillar, prompting 16 media organizations to collectively address Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud. In their urgent letter dated October 3rd, these organizations vehemently asserted that “Journalism cannot be prosecuted as ‘terrorism’” and appealed to the Chief Justice to “take immediate action before it’s too late.”

The genesis of this outcry stems from the alarming incident on October 3rd when the Special Cell of the Delhi police conducted extensive raids on the residences of 46 journalists, editors, writers, and professionals, all seemingly associated with the online news portal, NewsClick. Following these raids, NewsClick’s editor-in-chief, Prabir Purkayastha, and human resources head, Amit Chakravarty, were apprehended by the Delhi Police under severe sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The raids culminated in the confiscation of their mobile phones and laptops, raising serious concerns about press freedom.

The letter to the Chief Justice passionately implores the judiciary to intervene and establish clear guidelines “to deter the arbitrary seizure of journalists’ phones and laptops, a trend that has unfortunately become prevalent.” It fervently advocates for specific protocols regarding the interrogation of journalists and the confiscation of their possessions “to ensure these actions are rooted in genuine suspicions, not conducted as aimless explorations with no basis in reality.”

Moreover, the letter emphasizes the need for the court to explore avenues ensuring the accountability of state agencies and individual officers. These entities must be held responsible if they overstep legal boundaries or manipulate investigations, misleading courts with vague and ambiguous accusations against journalists for their journalistic endeavors.

This heartfelt appeal has garnered support from influential organizations such as Digipub News India Foundation, Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Club of India New Delhi, Foundation for Media Professionals, Network of Women in Media (India), Chandigarh Press Club, National Alliance of Journalists, Delhi Union of Journalists, Kerala Union of Working Journalists, Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists, Free Speech Collective Mumbai, Mumbai Press Club, Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists, Press Association, Guwahati Press Club, and Indian Journalists’ Union.

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