BeyondHeadlines News Desk
Eminent citizens, activists and journalists have condemned the malicious stories on journalist Syed Kazmi in the press.
On behalf of Syed Kazmi Solidarity Committee, they have written to the editors of the Indian daily Times of India and news channel Times Now regarding their motivated stories on journalist Kazmi.
Here is the full text of the statement:
We are writing in response to your front-page lead story, “Cops name Iran military arm for attack on Israeli Diplomat”, published on 30th July 2012.
The story, based apparently on your correspondent’s ‘exclusive’ access to the investigation report, is highly prejudicial to Mr. Syed Kazmi, a journalist himself. You may be aware that the Special Cell of the Delhi Police has been unable to file a chargesheet against Mr. Kazmi despite the passage of more than four months since he was arrested. In contravention to established law, Special Cell has been seeking an extension of Mr. Kazmi’s detention by another 90 days to allow it to file its chargesheet.
It can hardly be ignored that the story was flashed on the day when Mr. Kazmi’s revision petition for bail was to be heard. In fact, the Court did express its displeasure to the Public Prosecutor over the publication of this story. The PP continued to plead that it wasn’t leaked by the prosecution and in fact also claimed that he was unaware of many of the allegations reported in the story.
So, either the investigative report is a sham, or the PP is ignorant of the investigative report of the case that the prosecution says is of international significance. In either situation, it is the process of justice for Mr. Kazmi that is being obstructed and vitiated. The story will effectively create a public opinion about Mr. Kazmi’s guilt—even in the absence of as much as a charge sheet (at the time of publication of news story).
Times Now of course has surpassed itself in its story on the attack on Israeli diplomat carried in the 8 o’ clock bulletin on 30th July. The Times Now reporter stood outside the home of Mr. Kazmi gloating that the family members were refusing to speak to the channel. It then went on to show the front of a hotel, clearly giving its name, where apparently the conspiracy was hatched.
If the reporter had cared to read the order of the CMM, and not just secretive reports leaked by the Special Cell, he would have known that the court had invoked section 44 of UAPA to protect the witnesses. This simply means that any party which made public the prosecution story about the conspiracy, giving out names of witnesses or locations, would be liable for imprisonment up to three years. What has happened instead is that the family has been gagged while the Special Cell has been happily leaking all its ‘investigation’ to the press. The leaking of this information itself is violative of the court order and by carrying these in your newspapers and channels; you are participating in a criminal offence.
We strongly protest this attempt on your part to pass judgment on Mr. Kazmi through your media outlets. We demand that you offer an explanation and retraction of the story.
Saeed Naqvi (Senior journalist)
Sukumar Muralidharan (Senior journalist)
Seema Mustafa (Senior journalist),
Colin Gonsalves (Lawyer, Supreme Court)
Mukul Kesavan (Writer and Historian)
John Dayal (Senior journalist)
Shabnam Hashmi (Activist)
Mukul Dube (Writer and photographer)
Prof. Amit Bhaduri (JNU)
Prof. Mohan Rao (JNU)
Prof. Shohini Ghosh (Jamia Millia Islamia)
Ajit Sahi (Senior Journalist)
Navaid Hamid (Member, National Integration Council)
Mahtab Alam (Writer and Activist)
Manisha Sethi, President, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association (JTSA)
Mansi Sharma, Activist