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Digipub Condemns Arrest of AltNews Co-Founder Zubair, Who Exposed Hate Speeches, Including Nupur Sharma's

It is unjustifiable that stringent laws are being used as tools against journalists, who have been accorded the role of playing watchdogs against the misuse of institutions of the state, said the Digipub statement.
Md Zubair

New Delhi:  Digipub India, a collective of digital news media organisations, on Monday condemned in the “strongest possible words” the arrest of AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair on Monday. AltNews is a member of Digipub.

Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of AltNews, a fact checking website that has 416.4K followers on Twitter, was arrested in Delhi on Monday. He has been in the news for quite some time for busting fake news and also bringing to light hate speeches made by some BJP leaders, including the now suspended national spokesperson of the ruling party, Nupur Sharma. Incidentally, despite an FIR, Sharma has not been arrested or called for questioning yet by law enforcement agencies.

According to Pratik Sinha, co-founder of AltNews, Zubair was called by the special cell on Monday in connection with some 2020 case investigation for which he had court protection. Instead he was arrested citing some other FIR for “which no notice was given” which is mandatory under law, Sinha tweeted, while confirming the arrest.

Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language and doing acts intended to outrage religious  feelings of any class by insulting its religious beliefs) of the Indian penal code.

“This is not the first time he is being subjected to legal harassment. This is the sixth FIR filed against Zubair over the last two  years,” said Digipub in a press release.

The AltNews co-founder had earlier been booked by the Uttar Pradesh Police for calling three Hindutva supremacists “hatemongers” in a tweet, said Digipub in a press release.

“In a democracy, where every individual possesses the right to exercise the freedom of speech and expression, it is unjustifiable that such stringent laws are being used as tools against journalists, who have been accorded the roe of playing watchdogs against the misuse of institutions of the state,” read the statement, calling for withdrawal of the case immediately.

Read the full statement here.

digipub

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