In a press statement issued on Monday, the Editors Guild of India said an investigation must not become a tool to suppress media rights. The statement was issued in connection with the FIRs filed by the Mumbai Police in an alleged TRP manipulation case against Republic TV journalists
“We do not wish to influence the probe by the authorities, even if we recognise it has the potential to bring in much needed transparency on the manipulation of popularity, and creation of “proceeds of crime” – as claimed by the police; but the victimisation of the journalists should immediately stop. The use of arbitrary state power is not and has never been in the interests of working journalists,” the Guild said.
“This standoff between the Mumbai Police and the TV channel is unprecedented and threatens the tenuous but important to maintain balance between media freedom and the imperative for it to reside within the rule of law. Right to free speech does not mean a licence to promote hate speech,” the statement read.
“It is high time the channel behaves responsibly and not compromises the safety of its journalists as well as hurt the collective credibility of media. The police must ensure that its investigation does not hurt the channel’s journalists or makes any arrests. And that the investigation does not become a tool to suppress media rights,” Editors Guild said.
“The Mumbai Police Crime Branch Saturday informed the Metropolitan Magistrate Court that owners and other officials affiliated with Republic Media Network, News Nation and Mahamovie have been named as accused in the alleged TRP scam and are wanted for their role in the case. The names of these persons were not disclosed. The police informed the court that their roles were ascertained during the interrogation of those arrested in connection with the alleged artificial spiking of TRP numbers.”
The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement on FIRs that have been filed against journalists of Republic TV pic.twitter.com/tA4RFKDaBX
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) October 26, 2020