Editors Guild condemns FIR against Tribune reporter

103
The Tribune

The Editors Guild of India expressed its concerns on Sunday 7 January 2018 about the FIR registered against reporter Rachna Khaira of The Tribune for exposing the sale of Aadhaar card details for a fee. Raj Chengappa, president, Prakash Dubey, general secretary and Kalyani Shankar, treasurer of the guild said in a joint statement, “The Editors Guild of India is deeply concerned over reports that the deputy director of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) had registered an FIR against Rachna Khaira, a reporter of The Tribune, in the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police. The reporter has been booked under IPC sections 419 (punishment for cheating under impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery), 471 (using a forged document) and also under sections of the IT Act and the Aadhaar Act.”

On 3 January 2018, Khaira wrote an article in the exposing how the private details of individuals on Aadhaar cards could be bought for a small sum deposited in a payment bank and how an agent could access details if an offer was made. The Editor Guilds statement says, “Using a false identity, Khaira had posed as an interested party and claimed in her report that she had easy access to details that individuals had listed in their Aadhaar cards. The UIDAI in a statement had subsequently denied that any data breach was possible. The Guild condemns UIDAI’s action to have the reporter booked by the police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest.”

The Guild’s statement adds, “It is unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press. Instead of penalising the reporter, UIDAI should have ordered a thorough internal investigation into the alleged breach and made its findings public. The Guild demands that the concerned Union Ministry intervene and have the cases against the reporter withdrawn apart from conducting an impartial investigation into the matter.”

The Tribune’s editor-in-chief, Harish Khare said the newspaper would take all legal steps to defend its “freedom to undertake serious investigative journalism.” The Chandigarh Press Club in its statement said that the UIDAI’s action of lodging a police complaint against the correspondent amounted to “shooting the messenger . . . Instead of taking action against people who were involved in data breach, the government agency preferred to lodge an FIR against the reporter, who exposed the loopholes in the system,” it said in a statement.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here