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FIR against Siddharth Varadarajan: ‘Don’t use the pandemic as a cover to trample upon media freedom’

Siddharth Varadarajan. File   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

Over 3,500 jurists, academics, actors artists and writers in a statement expressed shock at the action of the Uttar Pradesh government and police against news portal The Wire and its founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan for an “entirely factual story” on COVID-19 and religious events. This is a direct attack on freedom of the media, they said.

Also read | Editors Guild criticises U.P. govt.

The signatories include former Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur, former Madras High Court judge Justice K. Chandru and former Patna High Court judge Justice Anjana Prakash, two former chiefs of naval staff Admiral Ramdas and Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat along with former NDA Minister Yashwant Sinha.

The others include former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, former Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, writers Vikram Seth, Nayantara Sahgal and Arundhati Roy, actors Naseeruddin Shah, Nandita Das and Farhan Akhtar.

Also read | Journalists condemn FIR against Siddharth Varadarajan

They have called upon the U.P. government to drop all criminal proceedings against Mr. Varadarajan and withdraw the FIR. They have also urged the government not to use the pandemic as a cover to trample upon media freedom.

“A medical emergency should not serve as the pretext for the imposition of a de facto political emergency,” the statement said. The signatories also urged the media to not communalise the pandemic.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 2:53:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/fir-against-siddharth-varadarajan-dont-use-the-pandemic-as-a-cover-to-trample-upon-media-freedom/article31342135.ece

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