Journalists’ associations seek withdrawal of case

Say arrest was in flagrant violation of SC guidelines

Updated - November 28, 2021 08:58 am IST

Published - October 10, 2018 01:07 am IST - Chennai

Several journalists’ organisations condemned the arrest of Nakkheeran magazine editor R.R. Gopal on Tuesday and demanded withdrawal of the case registered against him.

“The invocation of Section 124 of the IPC to attempt to prosecute an Editor for publishing an allegedly objectionable article is unprecedented and unheard of. This Section deals with assaulting the President, Governors, etc. with an intent to compel or restrain by criminal force the exercise of any lawful power by them. It is most unfortunate that the office of the Governor sought that a case be registered under Section 124 IPC,” a statement issued by Editors, Publishers and senior representatives of the print, broadcast, and digital media in Tamil Nadu said.

The statement said the manner in which Mr. Gopal was arrested was in flagrant violation of the guidelines stipulated by the Supreme Court. “The silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud was the rejection of the remand application by the learned Thirteenth Metropolitan Magistrate, Mr. S. Gopinathan, after hearing the arguments on both sides in detail. This is the finest tribute to the independence of the judiciary,” the statement said.

The statement was signed by N. Ram, Chairman, The Hindu Publishing Group; B. Srinivasan, Editor and Publisher, Ananda Vikatan ; K. Ramasubbu, Editor, Dinamalar; L. Ramasubbu, Publisher, Dinamalar (Madurai and Coimbatore); L. Adimoolam, Publisher – Coimbatore, Dinamalar ; S. Karthigaichelvan, Managing Editor, Puthiya Thalaimurai TV; R.M. Ramesh, Publisher, Dinakaran ; Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu ; M. Gunasekaran, Editor, News 18 Tamilnadu ; Bhagwan Singh, Editor, Deccan Chronicle ; and Arun Ram, Editor, Times of India , Chennai.

The ‘Alliance for Media Freedom’ described the invoking of Section 124 of the IPC as “a gross abuse of the legal process and a blatant attack on the freedom of the media.” It said the Magistrate’s refusal to remand Mr. Gopal sends the right signal to the constitutional authorities and the police that the process of law cannot be abused by those in positions of power. It urged the Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan to unconditionally and immediately withdraw its complaint against Mr. Gopal.

The Madras Union of Journalists described Mr. Gopal’s arrest as an assault of media freedom and democracy. Journalists’ organisations, including the Centre of Media Persons for Change, Tamil Nadu Women Journalists’ Association, Foundation for Media Professionals, Madras Reporters Guild and press clubs of various districts sent a joint representation addressed to Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu, who was in Coimbatore.

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