Arguing that the Mumbai police’s FIR against several Republic TV journalists for allegedly defaming the force threatened press freedom, the Indian Express reminded that “criminalising journalists for a story is just one step short of criminalising journalism itself”.
“If the police commissioner believes that the TV channel has crossed a line, there are means of seeking redress,” the daily argued in Monday’s , while noting that “some media houses have become megaphones for the powerful and believe that the duty of the press is not to speak truth to power but let power decide what the truth should be”.
“Instead, the police have filed an FIR, charging the journalists with defamation and causing disaffection against the police chief, which is “an ominous new low even by today’s standards of the highly polarised politics and public discourse”.
The Editors Guild, meanwhile, called on the Mumbai police to stop victimising Republic TV journalists as “the use of arbitrary state power is not and has never been in the interests of working journalists”. At the same time, they urged the channel to start acting responsibly. “The right to free speech does not mean a licence to promote hate speech,” the guild said. “It is high time the channel behaves responsibly and not compromise the safety of its journalists as well as hurt the collective credibility of media.”
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