'Attempts to Muzzle the Media': More Than 200 Journalists Condemn FIRs Against The Wire

The statement says the manner in which the UP government and its police have been pursuing this with a "single-minded agenda smacks of vindictiveness".

New Delhi: More than 200 journalists have condemned the FIRs filed against Siddharth Varadarajan, founding editor of The Wire, by the Uttar Pradesh government. On April 10, the Uttar Pradesh police served a notice on The Wire and summoned Varadarajan to Ayodhya on April 14, despite the fact that the nationwide lockdown will still be in effect then.

“The manner in which the U.P government and its police have been pursuing this with a single-minded agenda smacks of vindictiveness. The state has an extra responsibility to exercise restraint on use of its powers when citizens are restricted in exercising many of their usual democratic rights.,” the statement says.

The complete statement and the full list of signatories has been reproduced below.


More than 200 journalists condemn attempts to muzzle the media

Statement dated April 11, 2020

We, the undersigned members of the journalist fraternity, strongly condemn the FIRs filed against Siddharth Varadarajan, Founding Editor of the Wire by the Uttar Pradesh government. This constitutes nothing but a brazen attempt to muzzle the media. The Wire was accused of causing panic when it reported that UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath attended a religious event on March 25 at Ayodhya on the occasion of Ram Navmi, when a national lockdown was in force.

The Wire has held that the CM’s presence was a matter of public record and knowledge. A sentence in an article in the Wire had wrongly attributed a statement made by Acharya Paramhans to the chief minister, which was not only retracted but a corrigendum issued as well.

Rather than let the matter end there, a FIR was filed in Faizabad district. On April 10, a team of the UP police descended at Siddharth Varadarajan’s residence to serve him a notice for appearing on April 14, irrespective of the fact that a nationwide lockdown was in force. The manner in which the U.P government and its police have been pursuing this with a single-minded agenda smacks of vindictiveness. The state has an extra responsibility to exercise restraint on use of its powers when citizens are restricted in exercising many of their usual democratic rights. Freedom of the press is doubly important in such a context as people cannot make news themselves, but independent media is the most important medium of expressing their concerns. We demand that such politically motivated harassment of media persons should stop immediately.

Supported and endorsed by:

  1. N.Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Group of Publications
  2. Sreenivasan Jain, NDTV
  3. Alan Rusbridger, Former Editor, The Guardian
  4. Rajdeep Sardesai, Senior Journalist, India Today TV
  5. Suhasini Haider, The Hindu
  6. Swati Chaturvedi, Senior Journalist
  7. R. Vijaya Sankar, Editor, Frontline
  8. Venkitesh Ramakrishnan, Sr Associate Editor, Frontline
  9. T.K Rajalakshmi, Frontline
  10. Maya Mirchandani, Senior Journalist
  11. Harish Khare, Senior Journalist and Columnist
  12. Prem Shankar Jha, Senior Columnist
  13. Sagarika Ghose, Senior Journalist, Times of India
  14. Om Thanvi, Senior Journalist and Former Editor, Jansatta
  15. Anuradha Bhasin, Editor, Kashmir Times
  16. Sonia Singh, Editorial Director, NDTV
  17. Shobhna Jain, Sr. Journalist
  18. Sonal Kellogg, Independent Journalist
  19. Aruna Singh, Independent Journalist
  20. Ravinder Bawa, Independent Journalist
  21. Neelam Jeena, Sr, Correspondent, Sandhya Jyoti Darpan Daily
  22. Parul Sharma, Independent Journalist.
  23. Sajjad Haider, Editor, Kashmir Observer
  24. Saif Khalid, Deputy Editor, Al Jazeera
  25. Priti Prakash, Editor, facenfacts
  26. Parul Jain, Freelancer
  27. Anjali Deshpande, Independent Journalist.
  28. Sujata Madhok, Independent Journalist.
  29. Seema Mustafa, Editor, The Citizen
  30. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Senior Journalist
  31. Saroj Dhuliya, Navbharat times.
  32. Aditi Nigam, Newsclick
  33. Anju Grover, Independent Journalist.
  34. Kiran Shaheen, Independent Journalist.
  35. Karuna John, Independent Journalist.
  36. Vidya Subramaniam, Independent Journalist
  37. Sumita Mehta, Sr. Journalist
  38. Ashlin Mathew, journalist
  39. Hema Ramakrishnan, Senior journalist
  40. Anjali Ojha, Journalist
  41. Subodh Verma, Newsclick
  42. A.M. Jigeesh, Business Line.
  43. Ajoy Ashirwaad, The Wire
  44. Iftikhar Geelani, Senior Journalist
  45. Majid Maqbool, Contributor, Foreign Policy, The Globe Post
  46. Teesta Setalvad, Senior Journalist
  47. Majid Hyderi, Independent journalist and TV commentator
  48. P L Vincent, senior journalist
  49. Rosalyn D’Mello, Freelancer
  50. Praveen Khariwal, President, Press club of MP
  51. Gautam Lahiri, Senior Journalist
  52. John Cherian, Frontline
  53. A.J. Phillip, Senior Journalist
  54. Jose Kalathil, Senior Journalist
  55. Rashmi Sehgal, Sr. Journalist
  56. Ramesh Menon, Contributing Editor, India Legal
  57. Albert Thyrniang, Contributor, Shillong Times
  58. Avtar Negi, Senior Journalist
  59. Dr John Dayal, former treasurer, Editors’ Guild of India, Author
  60. Neha Dixit, Independent journalist
  61. Sonia Khurana, Visual artist
  62. Shuddhabrata Sengupta, artist and writer
  63. Akshaya Mukul, Journalist and writer
  64. Revati Laul, Independent Journalist
  65. Manoj Mitta, Journalist and author
  66. Divya Trivedi, Frontline
  67. Arti Jaiman, Community broadcaster
  68. Nirmal John, journalist and author
  69. Anando Bhakto, Frontline
  70. Shweta Rashmi, Independent Journalist
  71. Neerja Chowdhury, Senior Journalist
  72. Anita Saluja, Senior Journalist
  73. Aniruddha Bahal, Senior Journalist
  74. Jeejo Augustine, Senior Journalist, Borneo Bulletin
  75. Ravivarma , Navamalayali current affairs online (political editor)
  76. Shankar Raghuraman, Senior journalist
  77. P K Datta, Senior journalist
  78. Debashis Chatterji, Senior journalist
  79. G.Shankar, President, Kerala Patrapravarthaka Association
  80. Shastri Ramachandaran, senior journalist, (Editorial Consultant, WION)
  81. Purnima Tripathi, Frontline
  82. V. Venkatesan, Frontline
  83. Pankaj Molekhi, senior journalist
  84. Akshay Deshmane, Huffington Post.
  85. Ammu Joseph, Journalist and author
  86. Gokul Krishnamoorthy. Independent Columnist (ET Brand Equity, Financial Express).
  87. Anand Kochukudy, Editor, The Kochi Post
  88. T V Jayan, Senior Deputy Editor, Hindu Business Line
  89. Shajahan Madampat, Columnist, Outlook
  90. Ajaz Ashraf, Freelancer.
  91. Gayatri J, Consultant, Sabha TV, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  92. VM Deepa, Senior Consultant, Sabha TV, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  93. Sundeep Dougal, Independent Journalist
  94. Raksha Kumar, Independent journalist
  95. Sushma Varma, Senior Journalist
  96. Laxmi Murthy, Independent Journalist
  97. VK Raveendran, Editor, Gaddhika Daily, Payyannuur, Kerala
  98. Rajaram S, Senior Executive Editor, Carees360
  99. Preetha Nair, Outlook magazine
  100. Sukumar Muralidharan, Freelance Journalist.
  101. P. V. Thomas, Freelance Journalist.
  102. Swati Goswami, Independent Writer, Ahmedabad
  103. Priya Raveendran, Senior Consultant, Sabha TV, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  104. Nirmesh Singh, AgriNation
  105. Saimi Sattar, The Pioneer
  106. Bishakha De Sarkar, The Hindu Business Line
  107. Smitha Verma, freelance journalist
  108. Japleen Pasricha,
  109. Preeti Mehra, journalist, New Delhi
  110. Sudhanva Deshpande, publisher
  111. Anita Dube, Artist, Gr. Noida
  112. Asad Ashraf, Independent journalist
  113. Samita Bhatia, Lifestyle writer
  114. Jagan Negi freelance, Photo-Journalist
  115. CJ Kuncheria, The India Forum
  116. Sunil Menon, Outlook magazine
  117. N.B. Nair, Executive Editor, Indian Science Journal
  118. Ajith Pillai, journalist
  119. Gargi Parsai, Senior Journalist
  120. Saroj Nagi, Senior Journalist
  121. Dhamini, Journalist
  122. Dr Suresh Mathew, Editor, Indian Currents Weekly
  123. Raza Haider, Documentary filmmaker
  124. Nupur Basu, Documentary filmmaker
  125. Kay Benedict, Freelance
  126. P.M. Narayanan, Chief Producer, South Asia, ARD, German TV
  127. Geeta Seshu, Co-editor, Free Speech by Collective
  128. Kushal Jeena, Journalist
  129. Ziya Us Salam, Frontline
  130. Aditi Bhal, Journalist
  131. Dr Mukesh Kumar, Senior Journalist
  132. Shachi Chaturvedi, Senior Journalist
  133. Nadeem Ahmed, Journalist
  134. Rahil Chopra, Journalist
  135. Trina Shankar, Newsclick
  136. Fazal Imam Mallick, Senior Journalist
  137. Rukmini Anandani, Senior Journalist
  138. Rithambara Shastri, Senior Journalist
  139. Sagari Chhabra, Filmmaker
  140. Anita Katyal, Senior Columnist
  141. Kuldeep Kumar, Senior Columnist
  142. Roja S., Senior Content Co-ordinator, Sabha TV
  143. Sruthisagar Yamunan, Scroll.in
  144. Arvind Tiwari, Indore Press Club
  145. Saurabh Duggal, Chandigarh Press Club
  146. Shruti Chaturvedi
  147. Natasha Badhwar, author and film-maker
  148. Charu Soni, Independent Journalist
  149. Brinelle D’Souza
  150. Aftab Ahmad
  151. Shambhavi
  152. Aesha Datta, Economic Times
  153. Amiti Sen, Business Line
  154. Renu Mittal, Senior Journalist
  155. M.M. Dileep, Senior Journalist
  156. Anil Thomas, Senior Journalist
  157. Shaji Joseph, Senior Journalist
  158. Cedric Prakash, Senior Journalist
  159. Mrinal Vallari, Journalist, Jansatta
  160. Usha Rai, Senior Journalist
  161. Shubha Singh, Senior Journalist
  162. Sujata Mathur, Senior Journalist
  163. Tripta Batra, Senior Journalist
  164. Syed Nooruzzaman, Senior Journalist
  165. Francis Arackal, Senior Journalist
  166. Bindu Abraham, Sr. Journalist
  167. Lijo Thomas, Sr. Journalist
  168. Lissy M, Sr. Journalist
  169. Wilson Kappatil, Senior Journalist
  170. Ignatius Gonsalves, Senior Journalist
  171. Jose Kavi, Senior Journalist
  172. Tessy Jacob, Senior Journalist
  173. F.M. Britto, Senior Journalist
  174. Bindu Abraham, Senior Journalist
  175. Asrar Khan, Senior Journalist
  176. B.P. Dobhal, Senior Journalist
  177. Vineeta Pandey, Senior Journalist
  178. Gowhar Geelani, Senior Journalist.
  179. Dr Dinesh Kadam, writer.
  180. Antara Dev Sen, Senior Journalist
  181. Bhasha Singh, Senior Journalist
  182. V. Sridhar, Frontline
  183. Sabith Muhammad, Independent Journalist, Kerala
  184. K.M. Rakesh, The Telegraph
  185. K.S. Dakshina Murthy, Independent Journalist
  186. K.P. Mohan, Senior Sports Journalist
  187. Radhika Ramseshan, Senior Journalist
  188. Chitti Pantulu, Senior Journalist
  189. M. Prabhu, Senior Journalist
  190. K. Giriprakash, Senior Journalist
  191. G. Krishnan, Senior Journalist
  192. Parvathi Menon, Independent Journalist
  193. Bageshree. S, Senior Journalist
  194. Amulya Gopalakrishnan, Senior Journalist
  195. Afshan Yasmeen, Senior Journalist
  196. Bidanda Chengappa, Senior Journalist
  197. K.G. Vasuki, Senior Journalist
  198. Vikas Pathak, Freelance Journalist
  199. Vrinda Gopinath, Independent Journalist
  200. Mannika Chopra, Independent Journalist
  201. R.K. Radhakrishnan, Frontline
  202. K.K. Shahina, Senior Journalist
  203. Girdhar Narayan, The Hindu
  204. Richa Bansal, Independent Journalist
  205. Ilangovan Rajasekaran, Frontline
  206. Anupama Katakam, Frontline
  207. Lyla Bavadam, Frontline
  208. Angana Parekh, Senior Journalist
  209. Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhya, Frontline
  210. Sarthak Ray, Financial Express
  211. S. Srinivasan, Senior Journalist
  212. Neena Vyas, Senior Journalist
  213. Vikhar Ahmed, Frontline
  214. Shivani Rawat, Senior Journalist
  215. Bhaskar Chatterjee, Editor, Political and National Affairs, National TV, Kolkata
  216. Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Senior Columnist