Several individuals and people’s organisations pledged their support to The Hindu and condemned the use of police power to file a case against its Resident Editor and the attempts to curb the freedom of press.
Andhra Pradesh Working Journalists Federation (APWJF) president B. Basavapunnaiah and general secretary G. Anjaneyulu condemned the abuse of police power in filing criminal cases against The Hindu newspaper and Z 24 Telugu TV news channel for carrying a report related to the DGP’s visit to a godman in Old City recently.
When one did not agree with the contents of a published news report, there was always scope to issue a rejoinder or one could lodge a complaint with the Press Council. The draconian measures against The Hindu which always published pro-people news and the Z 24 TV channel were not called for nor justified, they said.
The APWJF urged Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to intervene and direct the police officials to withdraw the ‘íllegal’ case.
K.R. Venugopal, former IAS officer and Special Rapporteur to the National Human Rights Commission, extended his solidarity with The Hindu and its Resident Editor in the wake of the “unwarranted, totally unjustified and obviously colourable action of the Andhra Pradesh government” in slapping cases against The Hindu to intimidate it and also the press in general and the freedom-loving citizens.
Mr. Venugopal said he was outraged by the vindictive act of the State which violated the right to free speech and expression guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution. “You should fight this out in the interest of the larger issue of the right to free speech of all of us,” he said. Mr. Murari, Head, Corporate Communications, NCC Ltd., said it was shocking to note that the Hyderabad police filed a case, which did not make any sense, against The Hindu . The Hindu readers are with the newspaper and its Resident Editor, he said, and demanded that the DGP withdraw the case and respect the freedom of the Press. A.S. Bhasker Raj, a Bangalore-based journalist expressing his solidarity to The Hindu , said they would send letters to the DGP that there was no falsehood in the news report.