The Mumbai police on Friday registered a fresh FIR against Republic Television channel and booked its executive editor, anchor, two reporters and other editorial staff members for allegedly inciting “disaffection” among the police personnel against commissioner Param Bir Singh and maligning the city police’s image.
This is the fourth criminal case registered against Republic TV channel and its employees by the city police.
The latest FIR is registered by the Special Branch-1 (SB1), the intelligence wing of the city police, at the NM Joshi Marg police station. The complainant Shashikant Pawar is a sub-inspector posted at the Social Media Lab (SML).
The SML is entrusted with duties of monitoring content on social media platforms and television channels and identifying posts, fake news, rumours and other content that has potential to create unrest in the city or can lead to any communal tension or law and order situation in the city or state.
As per the FIR, on October 22 the police officials at SML observed that the Republic TV (English) channel telecast a show under the segment Biggest Story Tonight, with a caption line: ‘Revolt Against Param Bir Singh? Senior officer part of the probe gives details’.
The news item telecast on the channel alleged that Param Bir Singh is tarnishing the image of Mumbai police and his orders are not acceptable to the junior officers in the department, states the complaint.
The news show was anchored by Shivani Gupta and reporter Sagrika Mitra based on the news story gathered by Republic TV Reporter Shawan Sen.
“By broadcasting such content, the channel and its journalists intentionally tried to incite disaffection among the police personnel against the police commissioner and the act also maligns Mumbai Police’s image,” the complainant stated in the FIR.
The police have booked Republic TV anchor Shivani Gupta, reporter Sagrika Mitra, reporter Shawan Sen and executive editor of the show Niranjan Narayan Swami and other editorial staff.
They all have been charged with section 3 (1) of The Police (Incitement to Disaffection) Act, 1922 and 500 (defamation) and 34 (common intention) of Indian Penal Code.
Arnab Goswami is already facing two FIRs at the Pydhonie police station and NM Joshi Marg police station for inciting communal tension and spreading hatred between two communities.
The city police have also initiated chapter proceedings against Goswami and have issued him a show cause notice around two weeks ago. The channel is also facing an investigation in the Television Rating Point (TRP) scam.
Republic Television channel officials did not respond to queries.