Written by Zulfick Farzan
21 Jan, 2021 | 7:23 pm
Colombo (News 1st); The Editors Guild of India has condemned the issue of a non-bailable warrant by a lower court against senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta by a court in Gujarat’s Kutch district for an article he had co-authored against the Adani group in 2017.
In a statement issued on Thursday, it called upon the Adani group to withdraw the criminal defamation case against Thakurta. It also urged the higher judiciary to take cognizance of the fact that laws such as criminal defamation are often used to impede freedom of speech.
Here is the full text of the statement:
The Editors Guild of India strongly condemns the use of intimidatory tactics by powerful corporate houses against journalists to prevent media scrutiny. The case in point is the non-bailable arrest warrant that has been issued against senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, by a court in Gujarat’s Kutch district, for an article he had co-authored against the Adani group in 2017.
The issue of a non-bailable warrant by a lower court against Mr. Thakurta is another example of how intolerant the business houses have become to any criticism. Routinely they have targeted independent and intrepid journalists by using the very instruments that provide media the necessary protection.
At the same time, the Editors Guild is disturbed on how the judiciary in this case has become a part of this exercise to muzzle free press. Criminal defamation laws are often used by those in power to suppress any scrutiny by the media, and this case is a prime example of how such laws can be misused against the cause of free and independent media.
The Editors Guild of India strongly urges the Adani group to withdraw the criminal case against Mr. Thakurta. We further urge the higher judiciary to take cognizance of the fact that laws such as a criminal defamation are often used to impede freedom of speech, and issue guidelines to ensure that wanton use of such laws does not serve as a deterrent to a free press.
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