Hyderabad/Chandigarh, September 8: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) strongly condemned the arrest of a senior journalist based in Leh and General Secretary of the Ladakh Journalists Union, an affiliate of IJU, Tsewang Rigzin on 5 September on the pretext of a critical post by an unidentified person against the member of Lok Sabha from Ladakh Jamyang Tsering Namgyal in the Face Group ‘Ladakh in Media’ administered by him. He was subsequently given bail.
The IJU President K Sreenivas Reddy, Secretary-General and member of Press Council of India (PCI) Balwinder Singh Jammu in a statement issued on Tuesday said it was also a blatant attack on the freedom of expression. Terming the arrest of Tsewang Rigzin as illegal and arbitrary, they said the Delhi High in a ruling in 2016 made it clear that the administrator of a social media group could not be held responsible for a post by one of its members.
In his ruling Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw held: “When an online platform is created, the creator thereof cannot expect any of the members thereof to indulge in defamation, and defamatory statements made by any member of the group cannot make the administrator liable.” The Judge went on to observe that “When an online platform is created, the creator thereof cannot expect any of the members thereof to indulge in defamation, and defamatory statements made by any member of the group cannot make the administrator liable.”
The IJU felt that the local MP and his party were angry with him for his reportage and social media posts raising the issues that impact the people. The union demanded that the case against Tsewang Rigzin should be dropped unconditionally. It also urged the Press Council of India Chairman Justice C K Prasad to initiate action to protect the freedom of the press and freedom of expression which is under stress in recent times.
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