The Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists issued a statement today expressing its "grave concern" over two instances of police investigation in Maharashtra: the arrest of Republic's Arnab Goswami, and the harassment and FIR filed against Newslaundry's Prateek Goyal by the Sakal Media Group.
Goyal had reported on the layoffs this year at Sakal Times. In June, Newslaundry received a Rs 65 crore defamation notice from the Sakal Media Group, alleging the reports were defamatory. An FIR was then filed against Goyal in September, claiming a "trademark misuse" and defamatory articles. Goyal obtained bail but the police now wants to seize his laptop.
In its statement, the Brihanmumbai Union of Journalists said that it's clear that the "objective of the case was to intimidate and harass the reporter". It called the FIR "preposterous" and said the police's visiting of Goyal's home to seize his laptop was "patently illegal and violative of his privacy".
On the recent arrest of Republic's Goswami for allegedly abetting the suicide of an interior designer in 2018, the union said that while it "deplores the precipitous decline of journalistic ethics" by media outlets like Republic, it is "deeply concerned at the partisan deployment of various law-enforcing agencies to further and protect political interests, as illustrative in the case against Goyal".
The union's demands include the quashing of the case against Goyal and the ceasing of his harassment, the reinstatement of sacked employees at Sakal Media Group, and that investigation against Goswami take place "in a transparent manner, leaving no room for any charge of vindictiveness or vendetta".
Read the statement in full here.
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