In Tripura journalist case, after a month of the Tripura police filing two FIRs (First Information Report) against the journalists Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha of HW News during the alleged vandalism of mosques in the State the Supreme Court on December 8 stayed further proceedings of both the FIRs against the journalists. It further issued notice to Tripura Police. The two were charged for spreading “fake visuals” of communal violence.
A petition was filed by the news media house, HW News against the wrongful FIRs against journalists who were doing their job of reporting on ground stories in the state during the reported outbreak of violence. It was a plea submitted by Theo Connect, a media company that operates HW News, associate editor Arti Ghargi, journalists Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha.
Tripura Journalist Case
The petitioners had challenged the FIRs and called it “targeted harassment of the press.” Tripura police had registered cases against the journalists for their reports which allegedly “promoted” enmity and communal hatred.
The petition was being heard by a three-member bench of the Supreme Court which included Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Vikram Nath.
Justice DY Chandrachud said that a notice will be issued to Tripura police seeking their response and all proceedings in relation to FIR No 39 and No 82 will be stayed, until further notice. Also, the Justice asked the petitioners to file a counter-affidavit within four weeks.
The Managing Director of the HW News Network Ganesh Jagtap said, “We have full faith in the judiciary. Let the law take its own course. We are confident that the truth will be vindicated in the end.”
Sakunia and Jha were detained by the police last month at Karimganj district in Assam and then arrested by Tripura police. In the case, they got bail after two days, while the police tried refraining their movement. The two journalists were arrested for their tweets alleging the vandalisation of a mosque during the Vishwa Hindu Parishad Rally in the state. They were not the only ones targeted by the police, five cases were registered against 71 people, which included Supreme court lawyers, activists, journalists amongst others.