NEW DELHI, Sep 20: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has noted with concern the arrest of veteran journalist Rajeev Sharma for alleged breach of the Officials Secrets Act (OSA).
“The OSA from 1923 is antediluvian and needs to be redrafted in light of the fast-changing needs of the modern nation state. More so, keeping in mind what it connotes for an open democratic society such as ours,” the IJU stated in a release.
There is a surfeit of information flow and one needs to assess that the documents that were allegedly passed were indeed sacrosanct military secrets, conveying of which is detrimental to our country’s interest and not merely something culled together from that available on a deep dive or research in public domain, it said.
“Critical opinions or a differing perspective is to be respected, not necessarily antinational and needs be delineated with care, particularly when it concerns the right to freedom of speech and expression as enshrined in Article 19 of our constitution,” the IJU said.
IJU president Geetartha Pathak and secretary-general Sabina Inderjit said reputations are built over decades and can be spoilt in a just a jiff.
“The incident of ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan, who was finally exonerated by the courts for a similar accusation, comes to mind. This is not to defend anyone guilty of wrongdoing or acting antithetical to the interest of our country. We do hope that the Delhi police and other agencies of government of India have acted judiciously, keeping fairness and objectivity in mind and not witch-hunting. Finally, we will do well to always remember our nation’s motto from the time of the Mundaka Upanishad, Satyamev Jayte,” they said.