A man has been arrested in Gorakhpur for allegedly "defaming" Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on social media. This is the fourth such arrest in the last three days. A freelance journalist, an editor of a TV channel and its owner were arrested on Saturday over contents that were considered objectionable against the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister.
Saturday's arrests had 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.
The fourth arrest was made in Gorakhpur, the stronghold of Yogi Adityanath, after a complaint against the man was received on Twitter, the police tweeted on Sunday evening.
He was arrested for posting "objectionable content" on the Chief Minister, the police said. A mobile phone has also been seized from the man.
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. Mr 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 Chief Minister's image. He had shared a video on Twitter and Facebook where a woman is seen speaking to reporters of various media organisations outside Yogi Adityanath's office, claiming that she had sent him a marriage proposal.
The same evening, Ishika Singh, who heads private news channel Nation Live, and Anuj Shukla, its editor, were arrested in Noida. During a debate on the channel on June 6, the woman, whose video was shared by Prashant Kanojia, had allegedly made defamatory statements against Yogi Adityanath, the police said.
The Editor's Guild of India condemned the action against the media-persons and called it "an effort to intimidate the press, and stifle freedom of expression". Many people on Twitter condemned the journalist's arrest.