Editors Guild Demands Investigation of Cases Filed Under UAPA For Reporting on Tripura Riots
Moneylife Digital Team 08 November 2021
Expressing shock over Tripura Police's action of booking 102 people, including journalists, under the coercive Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), for reporting and writing on the recent communal violence in the state, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) has demanded the state government to conduct an objective and fair investigation into the circumstances of the riots.
In a statement, the Editors' Guild also reiterated its demand to the Supreme Court of India, "to take cognisance of the manner in which such laws are unjustifiably used against freedom of speech, and to issue stringent guidelines on charging journalists under them, so that these laws do not become an easy tool for suppressing press freedom."
The Tripura state police have sent notices to various social media platforms under UAPA. This move came a few days after the police filed UAPA charges against some Delhi-based lawyers, who had visited Tripura as part of an independent fact finding inquiry commission into the communal violence.
One of the journalists, Shyam Meera Singh, has alleged that he has been booked under UAPA for merely tweeting "Tripura is burning". EGI says, "This is an extremely disturbing trend where such a 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 Guild believes that this is an attempt by the state government to deflect attention away from its own failure to control majoritarian violence, as well as to take action against the perpetrators of this. Governments cannot use stringent laws like UAPA to suppress reporting on such incidents," EGI added.
Editors Guild says it demands that the state government conduct an objective and fair investigation into the circumstances of the riots instead of penalising journalists and civil society activists.
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