Journalists & writers condemn the FIR against The Wire’s Founding Editor Siddharth Varadarajan, Stop the attempt to intimidate independent media! 

attempt to intimidate independent media

New Delhi, 05th April. Eminent journalists and writers of the country have strongly condemned the FIR against Siddharth Varadarajan, the editor of The Wire.

The signatories of the statement include journalists P Sainath, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Seema Mustafa, Vinod K Jose, Naresh Fernandes and Bhasha Singh; scholars such as Anand Teltumbde, Akeel Bilgrami, G N Devy and Zoya Hasan; writers such as Amit Chaudhuri and Badri Raina; members of the cultural community such as T M Krishna, Naseeruddin Shah, Ratna Pathak Shah, Mallika Sarabhai, Pushpamala N and Anuradha Kapur.

They and many others have come together to condemn the FIR against The Wire’s Founding Editor Siddharth Varadarajan.

We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the FIRs filed against The Wire’s Founding Editor Siddharth Varadarajan by the police in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh. This is clearly an attempt to intimidate the media and muzzle its freedom.

The Wire has been accused of causing panic when it reported that the UP CM Adityanath, attended a public religious event on 25 March at Ayodhya, despite the countrywide lockdown. The Wire has responded that the Chief Minister’s attendance of this event is a matter of public record and knowledge. Hence, the IPC provisions on “disobedience of an order issued by a public servant” and issuing “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes” mentioned in the FIRs do not apply.

A sentence in an article published by The Wire on 31 March mistakenly attributed the claim that Lord Ram would protect his devotees from the Corona virus to CM Adityanath, a remark actually made by Acharya Paramhans, head of the official trust which is to build the Ram temple in Ayodhya. This was retracted the following day by the website and the necessary correction made.

Mritunjay Kumar, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, had earlier taunted Vardarajan in a tweet, saying, “Along with running the website, [you] will have to seek donations to fight the case.”

This is gross intolerance of criticism, essential for independent media to function in a democracy. This is why we strongly condemn the FIR filed against our colleague Siddharth Varadarajan as politically motivated, and call on all citizens of conscience to insist on our right to a free and independent media.

1 A Mangai 72 Naina Dayal
2 Abhijit Sengupta 73 Nancy Adajania
3 Abhishek Majumdar 74 Naresh Fernandes
4 Adil Jussawalla 75 Naseeruddin Shah
5 Aditi Mehta 76 Natasha Badhwar
6 Akeel Bilgrami 77 Navrekha Sharma
7 Alok Perti 78 Neelan Premji
8 Amit Bhaduri 79 Neeraj Malik
9 Amit Chaudhuri 80 Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay
10 Amitabha Pande 81 Nirmal Mitra
11 Amitav Ghosh 82 Nivedita Menon
12 Ammu Joseph 83 Nupur Basu
13 Anand Patwardhan 84 P R Dasgupta
14 Anand Teltumbde 85 P Sainath
15 Anita Agnihotri 86 Padmaja Shaw
16 Anna Dani 87 Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
17 Anuradha Kapur 88 Partha Chatterjee
18 Ardhendu Sen 89 Parthasarathi Majumdar
19 Aruna Roy 90 Parvathi Menon
20 Ashok Sharma 91 Poile Sengupta
21 Atamjit Singh 92 Prabir Purkayastha
22 Ayesha Kidwai 93 Preeti Edakunny
23 B R P Bhaskar 94 Prema Viswanathan
24 Badri Raina 95 Purushottam Agrawal
25 Bharati Jagannathan 96 Pushpamala N
26 Bhasha Singh 97 Rahman Abbas
27 C K Meena 98 Ratna Pathak Shah
28 Chaman Lal 99 Rekha Awasthi
29 Chandrakant Patil 100 Renu Ramanath
30 Debashis Chatterji 101 Revathi Siva Kumar
31 Devaki Khanna 102 Revati Laul
32 Devasahayam MG 103 Ritu Menon
33 Firoz Kamal 104 Rukmini Bhaya Nair
34 G N Devy 105 S Raghunandana
35 Geeta Kapur 106 Sakuntala Narasimhan
36 Geeta Seshu 107 Saleem Peeradina
37 Geetanjali Shree 108 Salim Yusufji
38 Gita Jayaraj 109 Sandhya Srinivasan
39 Githa Hariharan 110 Sangeeta Luthra Sharma
40 Hari Vasudevan 111 Sanjeev Kumar
41 Hindal Tyabji 112 Satyabhama Subramanian
42 Indira Chandrasekhar 113 Saumya Chakrabarti
43 Indra Shekhar Shahh 114 Seema Mustafa
44 Javed Malick 115 Shafey Kidwai
45 Jeet Thayil 116 Shamsul Islam
46 Jisha Elizabeth 117 Shankar Raghuraman
47 Jyothi A 118 Shashi Deshpande
48 Jyoti Punwani 119 Shoma A Chatterji
49 K P Fabian 120 Sibaji Bandyopadhyay
50 K. Satchidanandan 121 Srinivasa Gowda
51 Kamayani Bali Mahabal 122 Subhasis Nibirh
52 Keki Daruwalla 123 Subir Ghosh
53 Kingshuk Nag 124 Sudhanva Deshpande
54 Kumkum Roy 125 Sugata Srinivasaraju
55 Leela Jacinto 126 Sujata Madhok
56 M M P Singh 127 Sujatha Rao
57 Madhu Bhaduri 128 Sukanta Chaudhuri
58 Maja Daruwala 129 Sumi Krishna
59 Makarand Sathe 130 Sumit Sarkar
60 Mala Dayal 131 Sundar Burra
61 Malini Subramaniam 132 Suresh Goel
62 Mallika Sarabhai 133 Swapan Chakravorty
63 Manabi Majumdar 134 T M Krishna
64 Mangad Rathnakaran 135 Tanika Sarkar
65 Manishi Jani 136 Tapati Guha Thakurta
66 Mannika Chopra 137 Vibha Puri Das
67 Meena Gupta 138 Vijay Prashad
68 Meena Menon 139 Vijaya Venkataraman
69 Melanie P Kumar 140 Vinod K Jose
70 Mridula Garg 141 Vivek Narayanan
71 Mrinal Pande 142 Zoya Hasan

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