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October 28, 2017

International Press Institute (IPI) urges India Government to withdraw a Controversial Ordinance

International Press Institute

International Press Institute

International Press Institute

Photo: Participants at an event to mark the World Press Freedom Day at Palais des Nations, United Nations Office at Geneva, Switzerland. United Nations, Geneva. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré.

Vienna, Austria, Oct 27, 2017 — The government of the Indian state of Rajasthan must reverse an ordinance, which, in the absence of a government-sanctioned criminal investigation, bars the media from covering allegations of wrongdoing involving public officials. This was stated today by the International Press Institute (IPI) in letters sent to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje.

The ordinance requires courts and law enforcement agencies to obtain government approval before investigating public officials, judges, and magistrates for alleged wrongdoing committed in the course of carrying out public duties.

Here are the excerpts from the letter —

Oct 27, 2017

Mr. Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
South Block
New Delhi
India.

Dear Prime Minister,

The International Press Institute (IPI) is deeply concerned by the issuance of an ordinance under the Constitution of India by the Governor of the State of Rajasthan, amending the Criminal Laws Act of the State, on the advice of the Government of Rajasthan.

The ordinance, which claims to protect public servants, judges and magistrates facing “false” allegations of corruption and criminality, prohibits the media from publishing any report on such allegations, even when accompanied by evidence, until an appropriate authority of the Government has considered the complaints and given sanction for the initiation of prosecution proceedings.

The concerned authority has been given a time limit of six months to take a decision on whether to prosecute or not to prosecute. Until then, media outlets are completely prohibited from writing any details on the allegations ……………..

IPI strongly condemns the gagging of the press through this ordinance. The measure, signed by the Governor of Rajasthan on the advice of the Government of Rajasthan, violates Art. 19 of the Indian Constitution, which enshrines freedom of expression …………….

Eminent jurists, journalists and journalist organisations as well as senior political leaders have strongly opposed the ordinance and have called for its immediate withdrawal …………..

Mr. Prime Minister, you recounted recently how you had participated in the political struggle against the censorship of newspapers during the Emergency which was in force in India between 1975 and 1977. In this same spirit, IPI calls upon you to intervene with the Government of Rajasthan, and direct the state Government to immediately negate the ordinance through the Constitutional route, and withdraw the bill now under consideration by the State Assembly.

Such an action would demonstrate your commitment to freedom of the press, and would ensure that acts of corruption and criminality are not shielded behind the curtain of censorship.

Yours sincerely,

Barbara Trionfi
Executive Director
International Press Institute

……………………………………………………….

|GlobalGiants.Com|


The editor of GlobalGiants.Com, incidentally, is a member of the International Press Institute (IPI).


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