Five people including three media persons have been arrested in a span of two days for allegedly uploading “defamatory” post on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media.
A freelance journalist, an editor of a TV channel and its owner were arrested on Saturday over contents that were considered objectionable against the Chief Minister. Another man from Gorakhpur and a woman were arrested on Sunday.
Prashant Kanojia, a freelance Noida-based journalist and the editor and head of a Noida-based television channel, Nation Live — Ishita Singh and Anuj Shukla — were arrested by the UP Police.
Kanojia was accused of uploading a ‘defamatory video’ on Yogi on social media while the editor and head of Nation Live were charged with airing a similar content on the UP CM.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday the plea of freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia, against his arrest. The plea was moved by Kanojia’s wife.
Prashant Kanojia last week shared a video of a Kanpur-based woman making allegations against Yogi Adityanath. The woman has also been arrested, according to reports.
The police action has sparked outrage in media circles on freedom of expression.
The Editor’s Guild has termed the police action as “high-handed, arbitrary and authoritarian misuse of laws”.
The top editor’s body called it an “effort to intimidate” the media.
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement pic.twitter.com/fdczdNDwyz
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) June 9, 2019
The Guild further reiterated its demand that defamation be decriminalised. Other media organisations have also condemned the arrests.