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Reporting Hate Crimes Is Not a Crime, Says Mumbai Press Club on UP Police FIR

This FIR, the Club has said, is "the continued harassment of the news media in Uttar Pradesh (UP) for reporting the truth".

New Delhi: The Mumbai Press Club has condemned the Uttar Pradesh police’s decision to file an FIR against The Wire, two journalists and others for talking about the allegations made by an elderly Muslim man who was attacked in Ghaziabad. This FIR, the Club has said, is “the continued harassment of the news media in Uttar Pradesh (UP) for reporting the truth”.

“Considering the incessant hounding of the news media in the State of UP, the Club calls upon the Union Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to educate the UP government and its Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on the tenets of ‘freedom of expression’ and the right to report incidents of news value. With the recent judgment of the Delhi High Court flagging the authoritarian tendency to equate peaceful dissent with ‘terrorism’, those running the government at Lucknow need to be suitably restrained,” the statement titled ‘Reporting Hate Crimes Is Not a Crime’ reads.

The police had filed an FIR against The Wire, Twitter, three journalists and three Congress politicians who tweeted about Saifi’s version of events for conspiring to create communal disharmony. After that, an FIR was also filed against Samajwadi Party leader Ummed Pahalwan Idrisi, who had helped Saifi file his FIR.

While the Uttar Pradesh police has claimed that there was no communal angle to the attack, Saifi’s family told The Wire that he was subjected to slurs during the violence and had detailed this in his police complaint.

Several other media bodies, including the Committee to Protect JournalistsPress Club of IndiaIndian Women’s Press Corps and Editors Guild of India, too have condemned the police action.