Editors Guild moves SC demanding SIT probe into Pegasus snooping

The Editors Guild of India on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking a special investigation team (SIT) probe into the Union government’s role in the Pegasus snooping row.

According to EGI, the indiscriminate use of top-end surveillance technology against media persons destroys free speech and poisons the heart of democracy.

The petition is filed through advocate Lzafeer Ahamed B.F.

It further states: “Freedom of the Press relies on non-interference by the government and its agencies in the reporting of journalists, including their ability to securely and confidentially speaking with sources, investigate abuse of power and corruption, expose governmental incompetence, and speak with those in the Opposition.”

The plea alleged that the government had “deliberately avoided” public debate on the issue.

“The citizens of India have a right to know if the Executive government is infringing the limits of their authority under the Constitution and what steps have been taken to safeguard their fundamental rights,” read the petition.

The fresh plea follows the one filed by senior journalists N. Ram and Sashi Kumar, challenging the Narendra Modi government to come clean about the Pegasus allegations. CPIM’s Rajya Sabha member John Brittas and Supreme Court lawyer ML Sharma have separately moved the apex court.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana is scheduled to hear the Pegasus row petitions on August 5.

Journalists Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, SNM Abdi, Prem Shankar Jha, Rupesh Kumar Singh and Ipsa Shataksi, who were the targets of Pegasus surveillance, had also moved the top court, saying they were subjected to “deeply intrusive surveillance.”

An international media consortium has reported that over 300 verified Indian mobile phone numbers of rights activists, politicians, officials and journalists were on a list of potential targets for surveillance using Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware.