Journalists and cartoonists are being targeted in India, contrary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s global stance on free speech and fostering democratic values in cyberspace, the Editors Guild of India said today. The government itself heaps pressure on these professionals if and when their views are critical of the establishment, the journalists’ body said.
“Journalists and cartoonists critical of the government are being targeted on social media, as pressures are being mounted by the government on these platforms to remove such critical journalists on the specious ground that they are violating the law of the land,” the Editors Guild said.
“All of this is contrary to the commitments that Prime Minister Narendra Modi made at the G7 Summit to democracy, openness, and against authoritarianism,” it said in a press statement today.
The media release expressed shock at the Uttar Pradesh Police “cavalier” treatment of the mysterious death of journalist Sulabh Srivastava yesterday. The Pratapgarh-based television reporter died Sunday night in what the police have called a “motorcycle accident”, a day after wrote to senior police officials saying he felt threatened following his recent reportage on liquor mafia.
The Guild’s observations came a day after PM Modi, while addressing the G7 Summit’s Outreach Session ‘Building Back Together – Open Societies and Economies’ as the lead speaker, stressed on the need to ensure that cyberspace remains an avenue for advancing democratic values and not of subverting it.
India’s vigorously debating free speech curbs, especially amid a heated confrontation between the government and some social media platforms over free speech and other restrictions.