Several media outlets have condemned police in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh for reporting on an attack on an elderly Muslim man earlier this month.
In separate statements, the media demanded the immediate withdrawal of the first information reports (FIRs) against three journalists, Rana Ayub and Saba Naqvi և ub Ahmed և Wire, on The Wire news site.
Police on Thursday summoned a senior Indian official on Twitter to respond to allegations that he did not stop the video of the attack, accusing the social media company of spreading “hatred and enmity”.
Three members of the opposition Congress Party, all Muslims, also took to Twitter to comment on the incident.
What happened in haz aziabad?
On June 5, Abdul Samad Saif, a 72-year-old resident of Hazar Aziabad, a suburb of Uttar Pradesh, a suburb of the New Delhi capital, reportedly offered some men a car to drive to an isolated location, allegedly beaten for hours while curled up to death. , was swaying in pain.
The men allegedly forced him to chant Jai Shri Ram (hail lord Ram) և Vande Mataram (I praise you, Mom), calling for Hindu far-right groups to enjoy the patronage of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) : և often target the Muslim minority in India.
In the two-minute video, which was widely shared on social networks, men can also see how they cut an old man’s beard with scissors.
In his FIR, the Ghaziabad police claimed that the attack on Samad was an interpersonal affair, and that the accused had beaten him because he had given them amulets.
– The Wire (@thewire_in) June 16, 2021
But Uttar Pradesh police denied the attack was motivated by religious hatred, saying Saif had been beaten because he had sold the men no amulets that did not work.
Saifi’s family disputed the police claim, saying it was a hate attack.
In Haz aziabad, a police officer who did not want to be named told Al Jazeera on Friday that nine people had been arrested so far, including some Muslims, as police searched for the two suspects.
In their report, the police said that Nakvi, Ayub b ub’s brother shared the video of the incident on Twitter with their own hands “without checking to find out the truth”.
Police said the journalists “gave the video a communal corner”, “intended to sow community hatred among religious communities” and “wanted to disrupt public order”.
It seems that the police of Aziabad are investigating the case of an old Muslim man, they have put forward another version. My comment on Twitter was based on a newspaper post. I will wait for the end of the investigation before further comments.
– Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) June 16, 2021
In response, Ayub, Nakvin’s ub brother, tweeted that their statements about the incident were based on a viral video of news reports by several journalists.
According to Nakvi, it seemed that the police in Aziabad had “put forward another version” that he would “wait for the end of the investigation before further comments”.
With similar considerations, Ayub said he would wait for the “supremacy of truth.”
“Using Legislation to Criminalize Criminal Liability”
But the police crackdown on journalists, all Muslims, has angered media outlets around the world, who are demanding the immediate recall of FIRs against them.
The Editors Guild of India (EGI) said in a statement on Thursday that it “condemns the submission of FIRs by the Uttar Pradesh government to their tweets in the June 5 attack on The Wire քանի Several Journalists.”
The EGI said the police case against the journalists “was an inappropriate application of the law to prosecute independent media outlets for criminalizing dissent”.
“The guild is worried about UP [Uttar Pradesh] “Record the history of police setting up FIRs against journalists to keep them from reporting serious incidents without fear of retaliation.”
1/2. Earlier tweets about the attack on Abdul were based on video և various news reports published in print և electronically including LMs, including the Indian Express, which were already widely circulated. Given the police officers who insist
– Rana Ayub (@RanaAyyub) June 16, 2021
The Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent, non-profit organization that promotes freedom of the press around the world, said in a statement on Thursday that Uttar Pradesh police should “immediately withdraw their complaint” to end the “persecution” of journalists and the media.
“Indian authorities have singled out journalists, some of whom are known for their critical coverage of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party, for spreading the video, commenting suspiciously on selective law enforcement, a serious attack on the press,” said Stephen Butler, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator:
The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, journalists and media executives advocating for freedom of the press, called for the FIR to withdraw, saying “covering news events is not a crime”.
The International Foundation for Women Media LM stated that journalists “should be able to do their job without fear of retaliation by the authorities.”
Reporters Without Borders (RSF), another global non-profit non-profit organization called to protect the right to freedom of information, has called on the Uttar Pradesh police to immediately drop their “absurd” allegations, including “criminal conspiracy”. against three journalists for tweeting about the video.
# India : @RSF_inter: requires that: @ghaziabadpolice: withdraw the absurd criminal charge @AltNews: co-founder @zoo_bear:, @washingtonpost: Columnist: @RanaAyyub:, writer: @_sabanaqvi: կայք news site @thewire_in:“These encroachments must end immediately.https://t.co/GO9OjgQL5G:
– RSF (@RSF_inter) June 17, 2021
RSF said that according to its research, each accused journalist faces a possible joint sentence of nine years and six months in prison.
“The allegations made by the Uttar Pradesh police are not based on absolutely tangible elements, they clearly condemn the prosecution,” said Daniel Bastard, head of the RSFA Asia-Pacific office.
“We urge the Prime Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanat, to restore his credibility by ordering the immediate recusal of the allegations against the journalists mentioned in this absurd First Information Report.”
Digipub News India Foundation, an association of more than 60 independent digital publications – urged Uttar Pradesh police to “take back the case immediately and allow the news outlets to do their job without fear of retaliation”.
“The consequences of this case are greater than those accused here. Uttar Pradesh police are threatening those who report the voices of crime victims. “It seeks to create an atmosphere in which all journalists and news organizations will avoid reporting anything other than the official version,” Digipub said in a statement.
“Journalism will become impossible”
I deleted the posted videos. At this point in time, the victim’s version that he had to chant “ai ay Sri Ram” does not seem to be complete, based on police conversations and my conversations with other journalists on this issue. https://t.co/cof5bjv3I4:
– Mohammed ub ubayr (@ zoo_bear) June 15, 2021
Pratik Sinhan, co-founder of the Alt News fact-finding website, ub uber’s employer, said he was “targeting” his colleague for reporting the victim’s case in the haz aziabad case.
“The ‘impact of social media’ նող trends that distinguish uber trends testify to its impact. The Alt News team is standing next to ub uber, ”he added.
According to an RSF report released in April, India ranks 142nd in the World Press Freedom Index. In 2016, it was ranked 133rd. The reflection of the South Asian nation, which is constantly slipping in the rankings.
According to the RSF report, India is ranked as one of the “worst” countries for journalism, it is named as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.
Wire co-founder Siddhartha Varadarajan told Al Jazeera that the case against his portal was “an attempt to hold back journalists.”
“If you make it a crime to report what happened to the victim, it means that you want the media to cover only what the police say or the official version, that any other version, if you report, risks being prosecuted.” He said.
“If such an approach is allowed, journalism in India will become impossible.”