UP Police charges Scroll’s executive editor for reporting on impact of lockdown

Uttar Pradesh police has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against Supriya Sharma, executive editor of news website Scroll, for a report on the impact of the lockdown in Varanasi.

Varanisi happens to be the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s home constituency.

The FIR lodged on June 13 in Varanasi’s Rampur police station, mentions Supriya who has been charged under Sections 501 and 269 of the Indian Penal Code.

While the former deals with printing ‘defamatory matter’, the latter pertains to ‘negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life’.

The FIR has been lodged after a compliant by Mala Devi, who was interviewed by Supriya for the report, accusing the journalist of “lying and publishing fake news”.

In the story titled ‘In Varanasi village adopted by Prime Minister Modi, people went hungry during the lockdown’ the journalist quoted Mala Devi as saying, “we would sleep on chai and roti, sometimes not even that.”

Scroll has stated that it stands by the article.

“This FIR is an attempt to intimidate and silence independent journalism, reporting on conditions of vulnerable groups during the Covid-19 lockdown,” the news website said in a statement.


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