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Scribe, TV channel head arrested over content on Yogi

Last updated on: June 09, 2019 20:01 IST

A journalist has been arrested for allegedly sharing an objectionable post against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on social media, police said.

An FIR was registered against Prashant Kanojia by sub-inspector Vikas Kumar at Hazratganj police station on Friday night in which it was alleged that the accused made "objectionable comments against the CM and tried to malign his image".

 

He has been charged under IPC sections 500 (defamation), 505 (public mischief) and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.

"He has not told about his association with any news agency during interrogation. Probe is on in the matter," the release said.

Kanojia had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside the CM office claiming that she had sent a marriage proposal to the CM.

The verified Twitter handle of Kanojia @PJkanojia said that he is alumnus of the IIMC and the Mumbai University and is associated with some media organisations.

In a separate case, the head of a private television news channel and its editor were arrested on Saturday for allegedly broadcasting defamatory content against Adityanath, police said.

During a debate on the channel on June 6, a woman had allegedly made defamatory statements against Adityanath, the police said.

Workers affiliated to a political party had approached the police with a complaint against the news channel for broadcasting the claims of the woman without verifying facts, a senior official said.

"This could have led to a possible law and order situation," Senior Superintendent of Police, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Vaibhav Krishna said.

During probe it was also found that the channel did not have any requisite licence to operate, he said.

An additional complaint over the illegal operation of the channel was made by district additional director, information, at Phase 3 police station following which an FIR under IPC sections 420 (fraud), 467 (forgery of documents) and related offences was registered, the officer said.

"They have been arrested on both counts for the defamatory content as well as illegal operation of the channel," Krishna said.

The channel's version was not immediately available.

Editors Guild condemns police action

The Editors Guild Sunday condemned the 'arrest' of a journalist, and the editor and the head of a television channel over alleged objectionable content related to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, describing the police action as an 'authoritarian misuse of laws' and an effort to intimidate the press.

'The Editors Guild of India condemns the arrest of Noida-based journalist Prashant Kanojia and the editor and the head of a Noida-based television channel, Nation Live -- Ishita Singh and Anuj Shukla -- by the Uttar Pradesh government,' the Guild said in a statement.

'Mr Kanojia has been accused of uploading a post on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media and the Nation Live head and editor have been charged with having aired a video on the UP chief minister,' it said.

'The police action is high-handed, arbitrary and amounts to an authoritarian misuse of laws,' it added.

The Guild sees it as an effort to intimidate the press and stifle freedom of expression, the statement said.

The FIR is based on the journalist sharing on Twitter the video of a woman claiming a 'relationship' with the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the Guild said, adding that the television channel had broadcast a video on the same issue.

'Whatever the accuracy of the woman's claims, to register a case of criminal defamation against the journalists for sharing it on the social media and airing it on a television channel is a brazen misuse of law,' the Guild said in its statement.

To give the police powers to arrest, provisions of Section 66 of the IT Act have also been added, it said.

The FIR in this case is not filed by the person allegedly affected, but suo motu by the police, the Guild noted.

'This is a condemnable misuse of law and state power,' it said.

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