Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Friday expressed concern over registration of a case against Scroll Executive Editor Supriya Sharma and its Chief Editor over a report published from Varanasi's Domari village.
A statement said the FIR was filed on June 13 under Sections 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life) and 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of IPC as also under Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act (SC/ST Act).
The statement said the Guild has noted the reported statement from Scroll.in, saying that it stood by the article in question.
The statement also clarified that the author of the report had interviewed Mala Devi in Domari village, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on June 5 and that her statements had been reported accurately in the article titled, "In Varanasi village adopted by Prime Minister Modi, people went hungry during the lockdown."
"In view of the categorical statement from Scroll.in, the Guild is of the view that the use of various sections of the IPC and the SC/ST Act are an overreaction and will seriously undermine freedom of the media," said the statement. "The use of criminal provisions of the law against journalists has now become an unhealthy and despicable trend that has no place in any vibrant democracy. It needs to be resisted as well as eliminated. The Guild respects all laws of the land as also the right of Mala Devi to defend herself against any acts of injustice. But it also finds the flagrant misuse of such laws unjustifiable and reprehensible. Worse, the increasing frequency of such misuse of laws by the authorities is tantamount to shooting the messenger and destroying a key pillar of India's democracy."