The Editors Guild of India (EGI) issued a statement on Monday, July 12, condemning the Uttar Pradesh government for its continuous attack on journalists.
The statement comes in the backdrop of the incident where a state government officer assaulted a journalist who was covering Block Pramukh elections in the Unnao district.
"Editors Guild of India is deeply disturbed by the continuing trend of heavy-handedness by the state authorities in Uttar Pradesh with respect to journalists and media."
What Was The Incident?
The Chief Development Officer of Unnao, Divyanshu Patel, was seen beating a journalist in a video circulated widely on social media. According to NDTV, Patel attacked the journalist because he had recorded the officer while he was allegedly helping kidnap local council members to stop them from voting.
"This incident has come against the backdrop of increased persecution of journalists in the state of UP, as the state has punished, penalized and incarcerated journalists in an effort to intimidate them from freely reporting on crimes, state excesses and the management of the pandemic," the statement said.
CDO Apologized To The Journalist
Navbharat Times reported that the journalist, Krishna Tiwari, did not mention Patel in his complaint to the police.
Tiwari wrote that he was attacked by unidentified men. According to The Scroll, Patel had later apologized to Tiwari. Pictures of them exchanging sweets were circulated on social media on Sunday.
EGI acknowledged the officer's apology but demanded strict action against him saying, that such incidents are hurting the democratic rights of the media.
EGI further asked for "concrete steps to improve the environment for independent journalism in the state."
Ex Bureaucrats Condemned The Violation Of Rule Of Law In UP
Recently, ex bureaucrats and police officers wrote an open letter to the Uttar Pradesh government over the complete disintegration of governance in the state. The letter written by 74 former bureaucrats mentioned that 'governance is swerving away from constitutional values.'
The letter highlighted the unnecessary detentions of dissenters and journalists, torture of citizens belonging to a particular caste or community in various districts, and numerous police attacks on people who have staged peaceful protests.