Journalist Arrested: Misuse Of Power By Yogi Adityanath Government?
Are politicians guilty of misusing state powers to curb dissenting opinions?
The arrest of Noida-based journalist Prashant Kanojia over a tweet has sparked outrage among media associations. The Editors Guild of India in its statement called the arrest by the Uttar Pradesh government high-handed, arbitrary and amounting to an authoritarian misuse of laws. Was it a case of brazen abuse of power?
There was no question of any offence being committed by Kanojia, according to senior Supreme Court advocate KTS Tulsi. The state machinery cannot be used to settle scores with a person who holds opposite views, he told BloombergQuint. “It’s a fundamental right of a citizen to criticise and express an opinion. And so, it’s the duty of a journalist to disseminate that view.”
Kanojia was arrested following a complaint alleging that he tried to malign chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s reputation. Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook of a woman who said she sent a marriage proposal to Adityanath.
The suo motu action taken by the Uttar Pradesh police is “illegal”, said Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, senior fellow at the Institute of Peace & Conflict Studies. The arrest, he said, could not have been executed unless it had come from the chief minister or someone very high in the cabinet. Mitra himself had faced a defamation case filed against him by the Odisha government.
Senior journalist Krishna Prasad, who is part of the Editors Guild of India, said a blanket set of laws seem to have been added to Kanojia’s case post facto. “Politicians have developed an allergy towards the media and are using everything in their power to deal with the situation.”
Watch the entire discussion here: