Indian court orders release of journalist arrested over social media

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INDIA’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the immediate release on bail of Prashant Kanojia, a journalist arrested over social media posts at the weekend.

He was remanded to 11 days’ judicial custody for allegedly defaming a local politician.

The bench said legal proceedings against Kanojia could continue but that “incarceration’’ was not appropriate, said S Farasat, a lawyer representing Kanojia.

Kanojia was arrested in Delhi on Saturday by the Uttar Pradesh police on charges that he had made defamatory posts against the state’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath.

Adityanath belongs to India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

Three other journalists were arrested on similar charges over the weekend, according to local media.

A body consisting of the country’s top editors has criticised the arrests, calling them a misuse of authority and an attempt to intimidate the media.

The journalists had shared or aired a video that showed a woman talking to reporters, saying she was in love with the Uttar Pradesh chief minister.

Charges against Kanojia also included earlier allegedly inflammatory tweets about Hindu gods and other political figures, according to legal reporting website Bar&Bench.

“A citizen’s right to liberty has been infringed. We have gone through the records. These sort of tweets should not be made, but arrest?’’ Bar&Bench quoted judge Indira Banerjee as saying during court proceedings. (dpa/NAN)

– June 11, 2019 @ 11:59 GMT |

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