The Uttar Pradesh government is spreading fear among journalists, farmers and their representatives, said Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra today condemning the arrest of three journalists for allegedly "defaming" Yogi Adityanath. A Similar sentiment was earlier expressed by her brother and Congress president Rahul Gandhi who tweeted that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister was "behaving foolishly".
The statements from the Congress leaders came after the Supreme Court ordered immediate release of journalist Prashant Kanojia, saying the fundamental right to liberty is "sacrosanct" and "non-negotiable".
"Instead of working on issues related to public, Uttar Pradesh government is dealing journalists, farmers, and their representatives with the baton of fear," tweeted Priyanka Gandhi in Hindi.
जनता के मुद्दों पर काम करने की बजाय, उत्तर प्रदेश सरकार पत्रकारों, किसानों, प्रतिनिधियों पर डर का डंडा चला रही है। https://t.co/gm50MlivjG— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) June 11, 2019
Rahul Gandhi earlier tweeted that if every journalist who files a false report or peddles fake, vicious RSS/BJP-sponsored propaganda about him is put in jail, most newspapers or news channels would face a severe staff shortage.
"The UP Chief Minister is behaving foolishly and needs to release the arrested journalists," the Congress president tweeted.
Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, Anuj Shukla, the editor of Noida-based TV channel Nation Live, and its head Ishika Singh, were arrested for allegedly releasing defamatory statements against Yogi Adityanath. Two more people were arrested in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Minister's stronghold, for posting "objectional comments" against Yogi Adityanath.
The arrests over the weekend sparked a huge debate on social media on freedom of expression in the country with the Editors Guild of India terming the journalists' arrests "high-handed and arbitrary". The editors' body had said it amounted to "authoritarian misuse of laws".
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