The Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has taken action against certain social media handles for the way they reported the recent incident of Unnao murders. The Unnao police, on Sunday, lodged an FIR against eight Twitter handles and its users, including @themojostory run by senior journalist Barkha Dutt, on charges of spreading "misleading information" in connection with the recovery of the bodies of two minor girls in Baburha village of the district.
"We will not be silenced"
Reacting to the FIR lodged against The Mojo Story, Barkha Dutt said she is ready to fight it and face it in court. The senior journalist also clarified that the journalistic principles of showing both sides of the developing story were followed in the Unnao murders of two minor girls and the FIR is "pure intimidation."
"On FIR against us for reporting Unnao murders- We've followed journalistic principles by reporting all sides of an evolving story. To use IPC sections that are punishable with prison is pure intimidation. I am very ready to fight it and face it in court," Dutt wrote.
The DIGIPUB News India Foundation has strongly condemned the FIR against The Mojo Story, saying it is a clear example of the "muzzling of journalism by the state." The DIGIPUB News India Foundation also said a copy of the FIR was denied, without which an appeal for a legal intervention isn't possible. Read the full statement below:
Following these developments, Dutt also said: "We will not be silenced."
Why was FIR lodged?
Unnao police claimed that the users of these eight twitter handles had tweeted that the two minor girls, who were found dead in the fields, were sexually assaulted and that their last rites were performed against the wish of their families.
The Twitter users have been booked under charges of spreading rumours with the intention of causing riots, and under relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
Superintendent of police, Unnao, Anand Kulkarni said, "All those who tried to flare up tension and disturb harmony through different social media platforms will not be let off. We have lodged an FIR and will conduct a probe into the tweets. The misinformation was deliberately spread by people associated with parties, units and groups which are trying to discredit the ruling government and disturb the prevailing law and order."
The SP said despite the post-mortem examination ruling out sexual assault and injuries on the bodies of the victims, some people and parties having vested interests, continued to spread misinformation that the girls were raped.