Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said that freedom of expression is a fundamental right as a general enunciation of a principle in regard to India.
Asked by a Pakistani government news service correspondent on Monday about the filing of sedition cases against senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and several Indian journalists, Dujarric said: “Look, I’m not particularly familiar with that case. What I can tell you is that the freedom of expression is a fundamental universal freedom and people should be able to speak their mind and opine freely.”
Following the violence on January 26 in New Delhi, the Noida police booked Tharoor, journalists Rajdeep Sardesai, Mrinal Pande, Vinod K Jose (Caravan) and others for sedition .
An FIR lodged on January 28 stated that they were booked for tweeting and spreading fake news pertaining to the death of a farmer during the tractor rally on January 26.
The Editors Guild condemned the filing of cases on the basis of their alleged tweets asserting that they conformed to established journalistic practices.
“On the day of the protest and high action, several reports were emerging from eyewitnesses on the ground as well as from the police, and therefore it was only natural for journalists to report all the details as they emerged. This is in line with established norms of journalistic practice,” the statement explained.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)