Journalists protest Prashant Kanojia’s arrest in the capital

Monday’s march was called by the Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Council of India, South Asian Women in the Media and the Press Association. The organisers said they would write to the Union home minister and information and broadcasting minister to intervene, and to Adityanath asking him to withdraw the charges.

 
New Delhi: A group of journalists and activists held a protest in the capital on Monday over the arrest of scribe PrashantKanojia, including the editor, and the head of a Noida-based TV channel by the Uttar Pradesh police, alleging that it is an attack on the freedom of expression.
 
They demanded the immediate release of Kanojia and AnujShukla, who is the editor of Noida-based TV channel Nation Live, and its head Ishika Singh, who have faced police action over the release of alleged objectionable content against Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
 
The journalists, many wearing black armbands and holding placards, held a symbolic march from the Press Club of India in central Delhi, towards the Rail Bhawan circle and back in the scorching heat and raised slogans against the Yogi government.
 

 
Monday’s march was called by the Indian Women’s Press Corps, Press Council of India, South Asian Women in the Media and the Press Association. The organisers said they would write to the Union home minister and information and broadcasting minister to intervene, and to Adityanath asking him to withdraw the charges.
 
“There is fear (among) people today and some journalists are wary of being seen protesting. No one in their right senses can support what has happened,” Press Council secretary-general MohuaChatterjee told The Telegraph.
 


 Besides journalists, several others joined the afternoon march on the hottest day in Delhi’s recorded history. Among them was former student activist Umar Khalid, arrested for sedition in 2016 and yet to face trial.
 
“Each of these arrests (including those in previous libel and sedition cases by the government) are attacks on citizens who question the government,” Khalid told The Telegraph.
 
“Despite their massive majority, the government does not have answers to these basic questions. Journalists who have refused to align with this government are now facing this,” he said.
 
"Today, journalists can get arrested for using humour and irony in a social media post. This incident is a direct attack on freedom of expression," alleged SiddharthVaradarajan, founding editor of news portal The Wire.
 
"Kanojia had served for around two years at our organisation (The Wire,) before moving on to a new job earlier this year," he added.Senior journalist NeerjaChowdhury, who took part in the protest too, also alleged that the arrest of the three persons amounted to an attack on the freedom of expression.