FIR against journalist, chief editor of news portal for ‘misreporting’

Booked for spreading fake news about a woman in village adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

June 18, 2020 10:14 pm | Updated 11:49 pm IST - LUCKNOW

Photo: Twitter/@Uppolice

Photo: Twitter/@Uppolice

A Delhi-based journalist working for news portal Scroll.in was booked under various charges, including the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act, and an FIR was lodged on June 13 for allegedly misreporting about the poverty of a Dalit woman in a village adopted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi, police said on Thursday.

Chief editor of Scroll.in was also named in the FIR. Sections 269 and 501 (printing matter that is defamatory) of IPC were invoked, along with relevant Sections of the SC/ST Act.

Journalist Supriya Sharma was booked in connection with a piece published on June 8 titled, ‘In Varanasi village adopted by Prime Minister Modi, people went hungry during the lockdown.’ The story was about Domari village in the high-profile constituency.

Ramnagar police station in-charge N.K. Singh said, “She had published the photo of a woman, Mala Devi, and made fun of her poverty, that she did not get food. Ms. Devi said there was nothing of this sort and submitted a complaint,” the officer told The Hindu .

Circle Officer Kotwali Varanasi Pradeep Singh Chandel, who is probing the case, confirmed that an FIR had been registered on charges of spreading fake news.

In her police complaint, Ms. Devi said she works as a Safai karmachari in Nagar Nigam Varanasi through outsourcing and that her mother was also receiving pension from the same department.

She said she told the journalist that she and her family did not face any shortage of food during the outsourcing from the municipal corporation. She alleged that Ms. Sharma published “lies” about her that she only got “ chai and roti ” to eat and had to sweep and wash utensils for a living.

“Supriya Sharma has mocked my poverty and caste by writing that I and my elders went hungry during the lockdown. This has caused me mental hurt and damaged my prestige in society,” said Ms. Devi.

Ms. Sharma said she would comment after she got a copy of the FIR. Scroll.in said it stood by the the article. “This FIR is an attempt to intimidate and silence independent journalism, reporting on conditions of vulnerable groups during the Covid-19 lockdown,” the portal said in a statement.

“Scroll.in interviewed Mala in Domari village, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on June 5, 2020. Her statements have accurately been reported in the article titled, ‘In Varanasi village adopted by Prime Minister Modi, people went hungry during the lockdown,’ ” it added.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.