An FIR has been filed against Scroll’s Executive Editor, Supriya Sharma, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 269, and 501 under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. for an alleged “negligent act likely to spread infection negligence” and for supposedly defamatory content.
The FIR was registered on June 13 by Mala Devi in Varnasi’s Ramnagar police station for a report published on the lockdown situation in Domari Village, in Varanasi, a village adopted by PM Modi. Sharma had published an article talking about the effects of lockdown and about people going hungry amidst the pandemic and the restrictions.
The Editors Guild of India, in a statement, called the step taken against Supriya Sharma an “overreaction” and said it restricts the arena of journalism in terms of expression.
Priyanka Gandhi too condemned the step taken against the journalist. She tweeted, “The Uttar Pradesh government cannot hide the truth by filing an FIR… There is a lot of mismanagement on the ground during this disaster. By showing the truth, there is a possibility of corrective measures.”
यूपी सरकार एफआईआर करके सच्चाई पर पर्दा नहीं डाल सकती।
जमीन पर इस आपदा के दौरान घोर अव्यवस्थाएं हैं।
सच्चाई दिखाने से इनमें सुधार संभव है लेकिन यूपी सरकार पत्रकारों पर, पूर्व अधिकारियों पर, विपक्ष पर सच्चाई सामने लाने के लिए FIR करवा दे रही है।
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) June 19, 2020
The Delhi Union of Journalists has also criticized the impositions, stating that is was a step taken to “Intimidate journalists valiantly doing their job during the current pandemic and economic crisis.”