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EGI, DUJ bat for Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

A Gujarat court had issued an arrest warrant against the journalist in connection with a defamation case filed by Adani Group

Sabrangindia 21 Jan 2021

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) and Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) have come out in support of journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, after a court in Kutch, Gujarat issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with a defamation case filed in 2017 by the Adani Group.

Thakurta was charged under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with defamation. The matter pertains to an article in The Wire by the journalist about how Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules were amended by the Centre to allegedly benefit Adani Power Ltd. The article said Adani had claimed reimbursement in advance without paying any duty and had benefited to the tune of Rs 500 crores in the process!

Interestingly, the article was first published in The Economic and Political Weekly on June 14, 2017, but it was taken down after the Adani Group sent them a notice. It was republished in The Wire on June 19, 2017. Guha Thakurta also resigned from EPW in protest.

The Adani Group then filed a defamation suit against Thakurta and The Wire in 2017. But in July 2018, Additional Sessions judge NR Joshi set aside the criminal defamation complaint as well as summons issued by a magistrate citing lack of “cogent reasoning”. In May 2019, the Adani Group withdrew the case against The Wire, but not against Guha Thakurta.  

This is what DUJ President SK Pande and General Secretary Sujata Madhok have drawn attention to in their joint statement condemning the arrest warrant. The statement said, “Ironically, the Adani group has withdrawn its charges against the publishers of the article and the co-authors but not Guha Thakurta.”

They further said, “The Delhi Union of Journalists severely condemns the move to arrest a leading journalist. We have long demanded decriminalisation of the defamation law that is a serious threat to media freedoms. We urge the higher judiciary to strike down the criminal defamation law at the earliest.”

EGI too condemned the “use of intimidatory tactics by powerful corporate houses against journalists to prevent media scrutiny” in their statement. EGI further said, “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.”

EGI further said, “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 entire EGI statement may be read here: 

EGI

 

Related:

Adani defamation case: Guj court issues arrest warrant against Paranjaoy Guha Thakurta

Gujarat court sets aside Adani Group’s defamation suit against The Wire

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta quits as EPW editor: Adani Pressure

EGI, DUJ bat for Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

A Gujarat court had issued an arrest warrant against the journalist in connection with a defamation case filed by Adani Group

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) and Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) have come out in support of journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, after a court in Kutch, Gujarat issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with a defamation case filed in 2017 by the Adani Group.

Thakurta was charged under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with defamation. The matter pertains to an article in The Wire by the journalist about how Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules were amended by the Centre to allegedly benefit Adani Power Ltd. The article said Adani had claimed reimbursement in advance without paying any duty and had benefited to the tune of Rs 500 crores in the process!

Interestingly, the article was first published in The Economic and Political Weekly on June 14, 2017, but it was taken down after the Adani Group sent them a notice. It was republished in The Wire on June 19, 2017. Guha Thakurta also resigned from EPW in protest.

The Adani Group then filed a defamation suit against Thakurta and The Wire in 2017. But in July 2018, Additional Sessions judge NR Joshi set aside the criminal defamation complaint as well as summons issued by a magistrate citing lack of “cogent reasoning”. In May 2019, the Adani Group withdrew the case against The Wire, but not against Guha Thakurta.  

This is what DUJ President SK Pande and General Secretary Sujata Madhok have drawn attention to in their joint statement condemning the arrest warrant. The statement said, “Ironically, the Adani group has withdrawn its charges against the publishers of the article and the co-authors but not Guha Thakurta.”

They further said, “The Delhi Union of Journalists severely condemns the move to arrest a leading journalist. We have long demanded decriminalisation of the defamation law that is a serious threat to media freedoms. We urge the higher judiciary to strike down the criminal defamation law at the earliest.”

EGI too condemned the “use of intimidatory tactics by powerful corporate houses against journalists to prevent media scrutiny” in their statement. EGI further said, “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.”

EGI further said, “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 entire EGI statement may be read here: 

EGI

 

Related:

Adani defamation case: Guj court issues arrest warrant against Paranjaoy Guha Thakurta

Gujarat court sets aside Adani Group’s defamation suit against The Wire

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta quits as EPW editor: Adani Pressure

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