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1 Feb 2021

Al Jazeera

India: Journalists across country charged with sedition for reporting on farmers’ protest against controversial agriculture reforms

“Indian journalists accused of sedition for farmer protest reports”, 01 February 2021

Several senior Indian journalists have been charged with sedition over their reporting and online posts about a farmers’ protest last week, sparking criticism from media associations.

The cases have been filed with police in at least five states against the journalists, who include Rajdeep Sardesai, a prominent anchor on the India Today television channel, and Vinod Jose, executive editor of the English-language Caravan magazine.

Caravan Executive Editor Jose said his journalists on the ground heard from a witness and a relative of the dead man that he had been shot.

“This is an attack on free and independent reporting … Government wants only its official version to be published,” he said in a statement.

Journalist Mandeep Punia, who writes for Caravan, was also detained on Saturday at Singhu, one of the main protest sites. He was photographed being taken to court on Sunday, where he is expected to be charged on unknown offences, local media reported.

Indian media reports last week said television anchor Sardesai has been taken off air for two weeks by the India Today Group over his tweet in which he said a protester had been “killed allegedly in police firing at ITO”. Sardesai later retracted it.