New Delhi: While the media fraternity led by the Editors Guild condemned the arrest of journalist Prashant Kanojia by Uttar Pradesh Police and celebrated his bail order from the Supreme Court, the BJP is far from apologetic about the alleged act of muzzling free speech. Speaking to Sirf News on the issue, the party’s national spokesman Sudesh Verma said, “The Supreme Court has granted him (Kanojia) bail. However, the apex court did not say that he was innocent.”
An FIR was registered against Noida-based journalist Kanojia at Hazratganj police station in Lucknow on Friday night in which it was alleged that the accused made “objectionable comments against the chief minister and tried to malign his image”.
Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman was seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside the chief minister’s office, claiming that she had sent a marriage proposal to Yogi Adityanath.
Verma said about the affair, “One can’t defame anyone by posting anything across social media with a bad intention. No true journalist can support this type of a defaming act on social media platforms with unauthentic information”.
In fact, the journalistic fraternity is far from arriving at a consensus on the acts of Kanojia and Uttar Pradesh Police. Disagreeing with the Editors Guild, many journalists from Lucknow said Kanojia’s “arrest” would act as a “deterrent” in future for those who did not bother to verify facts.
President of Lucknow unit of Uttar Pradesh Journalists’ Association (UPJA), Bharat Singh, said, “People like him (Kanojia) lack basic journalistic ethics and basic knowledge of journalism. Without verifying and cross-checking facts, he has published a story against the chief minister of a state. Is this journalism? You have taken the allegations levelled by a woman on their face value and did not even bother to get these authenticated before running the story.”
“The arrest of the journalist will act as a deterrent for others in future,” Bharat Singh added.
President of Lucknow Working Journalist Union, Shivsharan Singh Gaharwar, echoed similar sentiments. “The act of the said journalist was definitely wrong, as he shared the objectionable content of the video without verifying facts. Without verifying or confirming the facts, one should refrain from publishing or broadcasting a story,” he said.
“Such type of mischievous activity comes under the law of defamation. If it happened, the government will definitely take legal action against these activities,” BJP national spokesperson Verma said to Sirf News.