New Delhi: A day after freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia was arrested for sharing an ‘objectionable’ post against Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Facebook and Twitter, the Editors Guild on Sunday condemned the arrest and called it an ‘authoritarian misuse of laws’.
An FIR was registered against freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia at Hazratganj police station, under IPC section 500 and 66 IT Act, in which it was alleged that the accused made “objectionable comments against the CM and tried to malign his image”.
Taking on the same, the Guild issued a statement that read, “The police action is high-handed, arbitrary and amounts to an authoritarian misuse of laws..” The Guild sees it as an effort to intimidate the press and stifle freedom of expression, the statement said.
The FIR is based on the journalist sharing on Twitter the video of a woman claiming a “relationship” with the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, it said. The television channel had broadcast a video on the same issue, the Guild said.
“Whatever the accuracy of the woman’s claims, to register a case of criminal defamation against the journalists for sharing it on the social media and airing it on a television channel is a brazen misuse of law,” the Guild statement said.
To give the police powers to arrest, provisions of Section 66 of the IT Act have also been added, it said.
As with a recent case in Karnataka that the Guild spoke about, the FIR, in this case, is also not filed by the person allegedly affected but suo motu by the police, the Guild noted.
“This is a condemnable misuse of law and state power,” the statement said.
With PTI inputs