In a boost to the freedom of press, the Calcutta High Court on July 30 underlined that it is the fundamental right of a reporter to publish news of “any illegal” activity “in an honest way” and added that “proper reporting” can help the administration act against offenders.
"A press reporter is expected to make the public aware of any illegal activity in an honest way. Proper reporting of such incidents would assist the administration in taking appropriate measures against offenders,” the court said.
According to , the observation came when the court was hearing an anticipatory bail plea of a journalist from Bengal’s Birbhum. A report by the journalist on illegal sand mining had prompted three first information reports against him. A division bench of Justices Bibek Chaudhuri and Soumen Sen granted bail to the journalist.
The journalist had reported on a police vehicle chasing a sand-laden truck which eventually led to an accident and killed a person. The report also claimed that some policemen collected bribes from the truck’s occupants.
In this context, the bench said, “It cannot be denied that incidents of police taking bribes from vehicles are being frequently noticed and reported.” The bench further felt that a case was registered “to stifle and muzzle the reporter’s voice”.
The court directed the Birbhum police superintendent to probe the registration of three FIRs against the journalist, investigate into the bribery incident mentioned in his report, and “take appropriate action against the offenders”.
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