Editors Guild and DIGIPUB condemn arrest warrant against senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

Published : January 21, 2021 15:10 IST

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta addressing a seminar in Rudraram, Sangareddy district, Telangana, on January 24, 2019. Photo: Mohd. Arif / The Hindu

The issuance of a non-bailable warrant against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta by a court in Kutch (Gujarat), for an article on the Adani group he co-wrote as Editor-in-Chief of the Economic and Political Weekly in 2017, has been condemned by the Editors Guild of India and the newly-formed DIGIPUB News India Foundation.

The warrant is pursuant to the Adani group’s civil and criminal defamation proceedings against the four authors of the article and The Wire which republished the article after the EPW took it down.

DIGIPUB, an association of digital-only news ventures and freelancers, called upon the Adani group to “desist from such intimidation of a journalist who is doing his job”. “The article is a piece of journalism and cases being filed against Thakurta for it undermines the right to freedom of expression,” it said. It condemned the “hounding of journalism” by the Adani group and sought the withdrawal of these cases.

The Editors Guild stated that the “warrant by a lower court against Mr. Thakurta is another example of how intolerant the business houses have become to any criticism.”

The statement further said: “The Editors Guild is disturbed on how the judiciary in this case has become a part of this exercise to muzzle free press. Criminal defamation laws are often used by those in power to supress any scrutiny by the media, and this case is a prime example of how such laws can be misused against the cause of free and independent media.” It, apart from withdrawal of the criminal case, urged the higher judiciary to “issue guidelines to ensure that wanton use of such laws does not serve as a deterrent to a free press.”