Don’t want press freedom muzzled: Supreme Court

By Legal Correspondent
  (Source: The Hindu)

The Supreme Court on September 8 said it did not want press freedom to be muzzled even as it granted interim protection to journalists of a news website from any coercive action by the State of Uttar Pradesh.

“We are aware of fundamental rights. We do not want press freedom to be muzzled,” Justice L. Nageswara Rao addressed advocates Nitya Ramakrishnan and Shadan Farasat, appearing for the Foundation for Independent Journalism, which runs The Wire website.

The foundation and some journalists with the website had approached the court against FIRs registered against them by the State.

The court, however, advised the petitioners to approach the Allahabad High Court first rather than the apex court directly.

The petitioners agreed to withdraw from the Supreme Court, which granted them interim protection for two months.

Ms. Ramakrishnan said the FIRs were baseless. The news reports on which the FIRs were registered were factual and correct. The police action stifled the constitutionally guaranteed right of press freedom.

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