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Journalist, TV channel head arrested in India

  • Published at 10:37 pm June 9th, 2019
web-Yogi Adityanath
Freelance journalist Prashant Kanojia Collected

The arrests have sparked a huge debate on social media on freedom of expression

A freelance journalist, an editor of a TV channel (Nation Live) and its owner were arrested in India on Sunday over contents that were considered an objectionable post on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. 

The arrests have sparked a huge debate on social media on freedom of expression and the top editor's body in the country calling it an "effort to intimidate" the media, reports NDTV.

Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police in Delhi on Saturday for a tweet that had "objectionable comments" on Yogi Adityanath. 

The same evening, the head of private television news channel Nation Live and its editor too were arrested in Noida for airing allegedly defamatory content on the chief minister, the police said.

Kanojia was picked up from his home in Delhi's West Vinod Nagar after a complaint by a police officer in Lucknow, alleging he tried to "malign" the Adityanath's image. 

He had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organizations outside Yogi Adityanath's office, claiming that she had sent him a marriage proposal.

He has been arrested under India’s Section 66 of the Information Act and has been charged of criminal defamation and making statements causing "public mischief."

The verified Twitter handle of Kanojia said that he is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication and Mumbai University and has been associated with several media organizations. The police took him to Lucknow where he was formally arrested on Saturday evening.

In a separate case, Ishika Singh, who heads private news channel Nation Live, and Anuj Shukla, its editor, were arrested in Noida on Saturday evening.

During a debate on the channel on June 6, the woman, whose video was shared by Prashant Kanojia, had allegedly made defamatory statements against Adityanath, the police said. 

They were arrested after workers affiliated to a political party approached the police with a complaint against the news channel for broadcasting the claims of the woman without verifying facts, the report added.