India: IJU Condemns FIR Against Nadia Journalists18 Jan, 2023
The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) condemns an FIR filed against eight journalists from Nadia district of West Bengal reporting a case of alleged corruption in the office of Nabadwip Municipality office. The harassment of journalists for doing their duty is unacceptable said the union and demanded action against concerned officers.
According to a report, the journalists were booked after an FIR was lodged against them under sections including criminal intimidation (section 506), obstructing public servants from discharging duties (section 186), and criminal conspiracy (120B), based on a complaint by an executive officer of the Nabadwip Municipality. The journalists had reported on an alleged case of the municipality taking illegal “cut money” for providing water connections to residents. Instead of acting on the report the officer accused the journalists of defaming the municipality and inciting people against it with the intention to cause a riot in collusion with the opposition BJP!
In a statement, IJU President and former member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and Vice President of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Sabina Inderjit said that the West Bengal government should take action against the officials who lodged complaint on absurd accusations against journalists who were only doing their duty. The IJU leaders urged the Mamata Banerjee government to ensure that journalists can carry out their responsibilities freely, without any fear or favour. The filing of the FIR was a clear case of harassment by the authorities and an attempt to throttle press freedom.
The statement urged the government to co-operate with the journalists and encourage them to divulge scams in wings of the government for the interest of the development of the State and transparency in the functioning of the government.