India: journalist detained by state authorities
Badri Seshadri has been charged with offences following remarks about India's chief justice.
The National Union of Journalists joins the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in condemning the arrest of Badri Seshadri, following comments he made in an interview about India’s chief justice in the role of ongoing violence in Manipur.
Seshadri, a journalist and publisher, was arrested by Tamil Nadu state authorities on 29 July, after a First Information Report (FIR) was filed about the comments. He had questioned the Supreme Court’s ability to handle violence in Manipur and suggested Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud, chief justice of India, attend the conflict zone to “see if he can restore peace.”
The journalist was charged with “public provocation with intent to cause riots, promotion of enmity between groups, and giving statements conducive to public mischief.” Although released on conditional bail on 1 August, he must report to a stipulated police station daily for 15 days.
The IFJ said:
“This arrest shows the overreach of the authorities on matters open to public debate. IFJ condemns this arrest and the persecution of Badri Seshadri.”
Press freedom bodies have criticised Seshadri’s arrest and the Indian Journalists Union said “it upholds the right of the journalists to criticise anyone and give his or her opinion.”