Editors Guild of India issues statement condemning intimidation of media

In relation to the Rafale deal reportage, the Guild said that any attempt to use the Official Secrets Act against the media is as reprehensible as asking the journalists to disclose their sources

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Mar 7, 2019 3:40 PM Updated: Mar 7, 2019 3:40 PM
Editors Guild of India

The Editors Guild of India has condemned the comments made by Attorney General before the Supreme Court regarding the documents used by the media for the Rafale deal reportage. Attorney General KK Venugopal’s comments would intimidate the media in general and curb its freedom to report and comment on the Rafale deal in particular.

The statement issued by the Guild said: 

The Editors Guild of India unequivocally condemns the Attorney General’s comments before the Supreme Court pertaining to documents based on which the media, including The Hindu, had reported on the Rafale deal.

Attorney General KK Venugopal on Wednesday sought dismissal of a petition for a review of the apex court’s earlier judgment, giving the government a clean chit, on the ground that the fresh petition had relied on documents that were “stolen” from the defence ministry and that investigations were going on to find out if it was a crime and violative of the Official Secrets Act.

Although the Attorney General later clarified that the investigation and contemplated action would not be initiated against journalists or lawyers who used these documents, the Guild is perturbed over such threats. These will intimidate the media in general and curb its freedom to report and comment on the Rafale deal in particular. Any attempt to use the Official Secrets Act against the media is as reprehensible as asking the journalists to disclose their sources.

The Guild denounces these threats and urges the government to refrain from initiating any action that might undermine the media’s freedom and independence.  

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