Reporters Without Borders, on Thursday condemned the FIR filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police against Scroll.in Executive Editor Supriya Sharma, for a report on the effects of the pandemic controlled lockdown in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency of Varanasi.
“In India, independent news portal Scroll.in’s editor Supriya Sharma has just been booked for a report on the effects of the lockdown to combat coronavirus. RSF condemns in the strongest terms this blatant attempt to intimidate one of India’s most resilient reporter!” Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that promotes the cause of press freedom around the world, said in a tweet on Thursday.
Supriya Sharma is a two time Ramnath Goenka award winner. In 2013, she won the prize in the Uncovering India Invisible category, for her reports from Chhattisgarh and in 2014, she had been named the winner of the prestigious award for Reporting on Politics.
Along with Supriya, the police have also named the “editor-in-chief” of Scroll.in in the report.
The FIR has been lodged at the Ramnagar Police Station by Mala Devi, a resident of Varanasi’s Domari village, who has complained that Sharma misrepresented her statements and made false claims in her report.
However, Scroll.in said that it has reported the article accurately and stands by it.
“Scroll.in interviewed Mala in Domari village, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, on June 5, 2020. Her statements have accurately been reported in the article titled, ‘In Varanasi village adopted by Prime Minister Modi, people went hungry during the lockdown.’” Scroll Editorial said in a statement published in the website.
“Scroll.in stands by the article, which has been reported from the Prime Minister’s constituency. This FIR is an attempt to intimidate and silence independent journalism, reporting on conditions of vulnerable groups during the Covid-19 lockdown, ” statement reads.