The Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Monday said it is deeply disturbed by the continuing trend of heavy-handedness by the state authorities in Uttar Pradesh with respect to journalists and media. The strongly-worded statement from EGI comes after a video that has gone viral on social media where Krishna Tiwari, a local journalist, is seen being beaten up by Divyanshu Patel (chief development officer), as well as reportedly some BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) workers.
“EGI finds this incident highly condemnable and actionable. This incident has come against the backdrop of using tools like increased persecution of journalists in the state of UP (Uttar Pradesh) as the administration has punished, penalised, and incarcerated journalists in an effort to intimidate them from freely reporting on crimes, state excesses and the management of pandemic,” the statement from EGI read.
Even though the CDO has later apologised to the journalist. The EGI statement expressed concern that the “heavy-handedness” by the administration is hurting democratic rights of the media, which becomes all the more crucial given that the state goes to polls next year.
The statement also mentioned the continued detention of Kerala based journalist Siddique Kappa who was arrested while reporting on the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Hathras in October 2020.
“He (Kappan) still remains in jail under the draconian UAPA, despite several appeals by the family and the civil society to afford him a fair trial and treatment,” the EGI statement read.
The EGI demanded strict action be initiated against the official concerned and called for immediate steps to be taken to improve the environment for independent journalism in the state.