Karnataka

Campaign Against Hate Speech condemns action against Teesta, Zubair

Advocates hold placards during their protest against the arrest of social activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad in Bengaluru on June 27, 2022.

Advocates hold placards during their protest against the arrest of social activist and journalist Teesta Setalvad in Bengaluru on June 27, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Campaign Against Hate Speech, a Bengaluru-based group of rights activists and citizens, has condemned the arrests of journalist, fact-checker, and co-founder of AltNews Muhammad Zubair and journalist and secretary of Citizens for Justice and Peace Teesta Setalvad. They have also raised concerns over the media coverage of their arrests.

The organisation said in a statement, “We also condemn the hate speech being directed against these well-respected human rights defenders by Indian media that have taken to pronouncing them guilty even before charges have been framed, let alone the conclusion of a trial. Both Ms. Setalvad and Mr. Zubair have been at the forefront of challenging the regime of hate speech, fake news, and state-sponsored violence against minority communities in India.“

The statement said that while the two have been the subject of targeted attacks both online and offline earlier, their arrests represent a “manifold escalation in the menacing threats they face in their efforts to place on official and public record the violence that minority communities in India are facing.”

Voices of reason being silenced

“Existing speech laws which were intended to aid the powerless in countering real hate speech are being used by political parties, individuals and groups to silence voices of reason citing reasons of ‘offensive speech’. In pursuing such complaints, the chilling message being sent to journalists, human rights activists, members of minority groups, writers, and scholars is that they will face the full wrath of state power,” the statement said, calling upon the Indian public to demand their right to free and fair journalism and truthful and objective reportage from media channels.

“We call upon the nation’s judicial bodies to take cognizance of the increasing harassment of the country’s leading journalists and human rights defenders. We call upon the media fraternity to raise their voices against the continued persecution of journalists, especially Muslim journalists, of which Mr. Zubair’s arrest is only the latest instance,” the statement said.


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Printable version | Aug 12, 2022 10:56:58 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/campaign-against-hate-speech-condemns-action-against-teesta-zubair/article65584637.ece