Inadvertently publishing the wrong location from where a suspected terrorist was nabbed by the police, turned out to be a costly mistake for two journalists in Haryana.
One journalist was arrested but was later let out on bail and another was booked at Ambala Cantonment for incorrectly naming the place from where a suspected terrorist had been picked up in a news report.
The reportedly heavy-handed police action on the media for a mistake they had corrected the next day in the newspaper, prompted the Opposition to lash out at the Haryana government for “suppressing” the freedom of press.
Media reports stated that the police had said that an FIR was registered against reporter Sunil Brar and news editor Sandeep Sharma of Dainik Bhaskar on Thursday (September 16) under different sections of the IPC. They had also taken Brar into custody on September 17 and were looking for Sharma to arrest him.
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According to a NDTV report, a suspected terrorist was nabbed by the Punjab police on Wednesday over an alleged tiffin bomb plot from Mardon Sahib village of Ambala. A headline in the newspaper the next day however had read that ‘Punjab police claims arrest of terrorist at Cantt from near IOC depot’.
But the newspaper had published a correction the next day admitting that they had made a mistake about the location from where the suspected terrorist was nabbed.
The Haryana police however were not in a mood to be pacified, it seems. The SHO, Ambala Cantt, Vijay Kumar defended the police action stating that they had filed a case against the journalists because they had published the news without authenticating the information. According to the SHO, the two mediapersons Sunil Brar and Sandeep Sharma had stirred up fear among the masses by publishing false news.
The two were then booked under IPC sections 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 177 (furnishing false information), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (2) (statement creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes).
The court however granted bail to Brar after he had furnished a personal bond of ₹50,000.
Meanwhile, The Opposition parties, including the Congress, INLD, Haryana Democratic Front and BSP, attacked the government on the issue.
While senior Congress leader Rohit Jain pointed out that the police had not issued any prior notice to the journalist before arresting Brar, Chitra Sarwara, a senior leader of the Haryana Democratic Front, and BSP leader Prakash Bharti accused the police of violating democratic norms.
It is an attack on the freedom of press, said the political leaders.