Quash FIR against OUTLOOK: NWMI 2016

The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) is outraged at the attempt to intimidate and silence publisher Indranil Roy and editor Krishna Prasad of Outlook magazine and award-winning independent writer Neha Dixit for an important investigation into the trafficking of young girls from Assam to Gujarat and Punjab.

The article, 'Operation #Beti Uthao,' published in Outlook magazine (25 July 2016), has brought to the fore the plight of 31 tribal girls - all minors - who have been trafficked and indoctrinated into the Hindutva ideology far away from home, as well as their families, who are unable to trace and contact their daughters. The full text of the article is available online.

An FIR was registered on Saturday, 6 August 2016 at the Latasil Police Station in Guwahati, based on a complaint by BJP spokesperson and advocate Bijan Mahajan and the state Assistant Solicitor General of the Government of India, Subhash Chandra Kayal, against the publisher, the editor and the writer. The complaint was lodged under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, a cognizable offence, relating to the promotion of disharmony and enmity between different groups.

The NWMI is shocked and disturbed at the attempt to criminalize mediapersons in general, and a brave reporter who has risked her life to investigate and expose such serious wrong-doings in particular. Instead of conducting an inquiry into the trafficking of young girls and acting against the culprits, these complaints and charges serve to harass, intimidate and, ultimately, censor and silence journalists.

The NWMI believes it is important to strongly condemn and combat all such attempts at suing the messenger. We demand that this case be quashed forthwith.

8 August, 2016

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