Amid the Maharashtra government illegally detaining Republic TV's reporter Anuj Kumar, cameraperson Yashpaljit Singh and Ola cab driver Pradeep Dilip Dhanavade without allowing them any legal representation, BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra highlighted the massive attack on Republic Media Network's Right to Report and called the state machinery's blatant misuse as "the most determined attack on media freedom in India".
In a free democratic country,if a reporter near CM’s house to pursue a story is put in jail for 4 days without legal representation,it is not only an obvious & blatant attack on the right to report,but also the most determined attack on media freedom in India#FreeAnujNow pic.twitter.com/yRwCBoCf6c— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) September 11, 2020
Republic's reporting team was following a journalistic lead in an investigative assignment in Karjat in Raigad when it was apprehended and thrown into jail for 4 days after making an enquiry with a security guard of a certain residence. Shockingly, the team was denied any legal representation before being sent to custody.
Republic's team, which is in jail at present, has been charged under sections of trespassing. This is in blatant contradiction to the facts recorded in the press statement by the Police given that it is on-record that the Republic team was apprehended on approaching a security guard. Should the intent have been to ‘trespass’ as is being alleged, an official enquiry to a security guard at a residential gate would not have been made. The reporter is being pressured by the state machinery in Maharashtra to reveal his story, his leads and his sources. Here is the sequence of events leading to the illegal detention
The state government has issued threats to cable networks in Maharashtra to block Republic Media Network from beaming to people's homes in the state. The Shiv Cable Sena which is part of the Shiv Sena has issued an order which is signed by Sanjay Raut’s brother Sunil Raut, the chief of the organisation. Republic has also launched a petition campaign #CantBlockRepublic to fight against the brazen attempts of the state government to stop Republic Media Network's broadcast.
The state government's attempt depicts a clear vendetta against Republic as the Uddhav Thackeray-led government is facing the heat and outrage from the entire nation after Republic's investigative journalism exposed glaring loopholes in the Mumbai Police's investigation into the Sushant Singh Rajput's mysterious death which the Mumbai Police backed by Maharashtra Government was quick to term it as suicide.