Condemning the non-bailable arrest warrant issued against senior Indian journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta by a lower court in Gujarat, the Editors Guild of India on Thursday has slammed powerful corporate houses for using ‘intimidatory tactics against journalists to prevent media scrutiny’.
A criminal defamation case filed against Thakurta by the Adani Group for writing an article against the Adani group in 2017 is another example of how intolerant the business houses have become to any criticism, an official release of Editors’ Guild said.
“Routinely they have targeted independent and intrepid journalists by using the very instruments that provide media the necessary protection. At the same time, the Editors Guild is disturbed on how the judiciary in this case has become a part of this exercise to muzzle free press. Criminal defamation laws are often used by those in power to suppress any scrutiny by the media, and this case is a prime example of how such laws can be misused against the cause of free and independent media. The Editors Guild of India strongly urges the Adani group to withdraw the criminal case against Mr. Thakurta”, it said.
“We further urge the higher judiciary to take cognizance of the fact that laws such as a criminal defamation are often used to impede freedom of speech, and issue guidelines to ensure that wanton use of such laws does not serve as a deterrent to a free press,” the release added.