The Editors Guild Of India Sunday condemned journalists being obstructed in doing their job in the Hathras case, the phone tapping of reporters covering the case, and “noted with concern that such attacks against the media are becoming part of a growing trend” in recent months.
In a statement released Sunday, the Guild said: “The Editors Guild Of India condemns the manner in which the law enforcement agencies of the Uttar Pradesh government, led by Yogi Adityanath, have prevented media persons from reporting on developments in and around Hathras after a brutal assault on a woman leading to her death and the hurried cremation of her body by the authorities without the presence of the family of the deceased.”
A 19-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras died Tuesday after being assaulted allegedly by Thakur men of her village. Her family has claimed she was gang-raped. After her body was hurriedly cremated by the police, her entire village was put under lockdown, with the police barricades lifted only on Saturday. The phone conversation of a reporter with a family member of the victim was recorded and leaked.
In its statement, the Guild said: “Equally reprehensible is the way the government has tapped the telephones of journalists engaged in covering the Hathras incidents. Worse, the tapped conversation of the journalists has been selectively leaked, leading to a social media calumny against them. Not allowing the media to visit the incident spots and tapping the phone conversation of journalists undermine and obstruct the functioning of the media.”
The Guild added that attacks on the media have increased in the recent months, “in which a few other state governments have also indulged in such harassment of journalists.”
“Hathras is the worst such case in the scale of interference but the Guild also notes with concern that such attacks against the media are becoming part of a growing trend seen in recent months, in which a few other state governments have also indulged in such harassment of journalists. The Guild condemns these and demands corrective action,” it said.