The Editors Guild of India is shocked by the cavalier manner in which Uttar Pradesh Police is treating the mysterious death of TV journalist, Sulabh Srivastava, in Pratapgrah. Srivastava, who had been threatened by the liquor mafia for exposing their wrongdoings, had recently written a letter to the police expressing grave apprehensions for his life. He believed that some people were following him. The authorities paid no heed to his fears. Srivastava died a couple of days after he wrote the letter to the police. The police is passing off his death as being caused by an accident, claiming that his bike rammed into a handpump.
His death comes at a time when media is facing increasing pressures from central and state governments who insist that they follow the official narrative regarding the administration’s handling of the pandemic. What is further worrying is that the police and the local authorities liberally and unjustifiably use laws such as sedition and UAPA to file charges and arrest journalists. This is against the spirit of the judgment given by the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath Singh case and re-iterated in the recent sedition case against Vinod Dua.
Journalists and cartoonists critical of the government are also being targeted on social media, as pressures are being mounted by the government on these platforms to remove such critical journalists on the specious ground that they are violating the law of the land. All of this is contrary to the commitments that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made at the G-7 summit to democracy, openness and against authoritarianism.
Thanks and regards,
Seema Mustafa, President
Sanjay Kapoor, General Secretary
Anant Nath, Treasurer
14 June 2021