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Thursday, August 11, 2022

India’s top court orders release of jailed Muslim journalist

NEW DELHI ( Associated Press) – India’s top court on Wednesday granted bail to a Muslim journalist and sought his release from jail more than three weeks after he was detained for allegedly hurting religious sentiments through his tweets. ordered.

Mohd Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, was arrested last month On a 2018 tweet by Delhi Police alleging insult to Hindu religious beliefs.

Police in the state of Uttar Pradesh later charged him in a separate case for using the term “haters” for three Hindu monks who made provocative remarks about Muslims, at least one belonging to a minority community. genocide”.

The Uttar Pradesh police also charged him with criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and receiving foreign money in at least half a dozen other cases.

Zubair’s arrest comes after he uncovered comments made in June about Islam’s prophet Muhammad by a now-suspended spokesperson of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, which sparked a diplomatic row for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. Activists, journalists and opposition politicians called Zubair’s arrest the latest example of undermining media freedom under the Modi government.

The court in its judgment ordered immediate release of Zubair from New Delhi’s Tihar Jail and asked the authorities to merge all the cases against him into one.

“There is no justification in the present case to keep (him) in continuous custody and subject him to endless proceedings in various courts,” the Supreme Court said. It also slammed the Uttar Pradesh government for asking the court to stop the journalist from tweeting.

Justice Dhananjay Yashwant Chandrachud said, “How can you tell a journalist that he cannot write.”

Journalists and government critics suspect that Zubair is facing retaliation for exposing hate speech against Muslims facing attacks from Hindu nationalists.

Founded in 2017 as a non-profit organization, Alt News is India’s foremost fact-checking news website and has gained a reputation for its reporting on hate speech and misinformation, especially by Hindu nationalists. Its founders, including Zubair, have faced online trolling and threats in the past by right-wing groups, some of them affiliated with the Hindu nationalist BJP.

Journalists across India have been increasingly targeted for their work in recent years. Some have been arrested on criminal charges for posts on social media, where they regularly face threats and trolling. On government orders, Twitter accounts and news websites of some journalists have also been suspended.

India’s ranking among 180 countries has dropped eight places to 150 in this year’s Press Freedom Index, published by the watchdog group Reporters Without Borders.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Deskhttps://worldnationnews.com/
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