HW News journalists Samridhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha and associate editor Arti Ghargi, along with the media firm Theos Connect, which operates the portal, have moved the Supreme Court against the Tripura police FIRs over reportage on the communal violence in the state, LiveLaw.
The court accepted the request for urgent listing of the petition on December 3. The matter will be considered by a bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud on December 8, according to LiveLaw.
“The petition has been filed in relation to the targeted abuse of criminalising the reporting by petitioners and its correspondents” and their “illegal detention” over “reporting of events regarding violence qua minorities in State of Tripura during second half of the month of October”, the petitioners stated. “If the State is allowed to criminalise the very act of fact-finding and unbiased reporting then the only facts that will come in the public domain are those that are convenient to the State.”
The petition argued that FIRs amounted to “targeted harassment of the press”. They said the allegations against them are “bizarre” because the journalists were simply reporting on the ground and finding facts related to the communal violence.
Tripura police had arrested Sakunia and Jha on November 15, alleging that they had spread communal hatred by publishing “baseless” news. They were later granted bail by a court in Tripura’s Gomati district, Scroll.in .
As by Newslaundry, both Sakunia and Jha had reported on a mosque which was torched in Tripura’s Gomati district and the alleged targeting of mosques and properties owned by Muslims in Panisagar subdivision which was most hit by violence during the VHP rally on October 26.