IJU demands withdrawal of FIR against journo by UP govt

NEW DELHI/HYDERA-BAD, Sep 3: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the Uttar Pradesh government for filing an FIR against a journalist in Mirzapur district for reporting the truth, and has demanded that the FIR be withdrawn forthwith.
Pawan Jaiswal, with the Hindi publication Jansandesh, had shot a video, showing children sitting on the floor and eating rotis (chapattis) with salt at the district’s government primary school, which went viral a week ago and blew the lid over the state government’s flagship midday meal scheme.
The block education officer filed a complaint against Pawan and two others, including a representative of the local village head, accusing them
of “criminal conspiracy to defame the UP government.”
In a statement, IJU Acting President Geetartha Pathak and Secretary-General Sabina Inderjit demanded that the Yogi Adityanath government withdraw the case immediately as Pawan was doing his duty by reporting the truth “and, in fact, drew the attention of the authorities to the irregularities in the scheme, which boasted of an elaborate menu.”
The IJU also drew the government’s attention to the fact that the video of children being given roti and salt was confirmed by none other than Mirzapur DM Anurag Patel, who is quoted by news channels saying, “As soon as the issue came to my notice, I ordered an inquiry. After the allegations of serving roti and salt were found true, two people, Murari and Arvind Tripathi, have been suspended and strict action will be taken further.”
The IJU said the media’s freedom to report and carry out its responsibility was heavily curtailed in UP, and that this was not the first instance when an FIR has been lodged against a journalist. It cautioned the government, saying instead of harassing journalists and attacking the freedom of the press in the state, it must put its house in order and not mislead the people.