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Digital Media Publications Condemn Attack on Journalists in UP, Request Investigation

Two reporters from Chalchitra Abhiyaan were threatened and prevented from carrying out their reporting work on the impact of the recent GST rate hike on food prices in Uttar Pradesh.

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Digipub India, a joint platform of digital news publications, on Thursday strongly condemned the attack on two journalists from the film and media collective Chalchitra Abhiyaan in Uttar Pradesh and urged the police to conduct an investigation into the incident. It requested the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government to ensure that the constitutional right to free speech and expression is protected.

Two reporters from the Chalchitra Abhiyaan were on Wednesday threatened and prevented from carrying out their reporting work on the impact of the recent GST rate hike on food prices in Uttar Pradesh.

Naukul Singh Sawhney, the founder of ChalChitra Abhiyaan, said that the reporters, Shakib Rangrezz and Vishal Stonewall, were allegedly attacked by a “BJP supporter” at Kishanpur Baral village in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat area while reporting and the man tried to snatch their equipment.

“The journalists were told that they could not report on government policies and were threatened with more violence,” DigiPub said in its statement.

Chalchitra Abhiyan covers news and makes documentaries on five districts of western Uttar Pradesh. The DigiPub statement noted that Stonewall, a former brick kiln worker, and Rangrezz, a Muzaffarnagar riot survivor, along with other members of the organisation have been detained by the police previously for reporting on the Hathras protest in Shamli and protests by Dalits in Saharanpur.

Stating that this is not the forst time journalists in UP have faced violence and intimidation, DigiPub said, “This repeated pattern of intimidation and physical assault on journalists in Uttar Pradesh by unknown assailants who prevent journalists from reporting on the government must be halted.”

DigiPub also urged the Yogi Adityanath-led UP government to sensitise the authorities on the role of free press and deal with people attacking reporters “with full force of the law”. “These attacks and the lack of strict action by officials does not bode well for all Indians [sic.],” it said.

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