Stop the attempt to intimidate independent media!

We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the FIRs filed against The Wire’s Founding Editor Siddharth Varadarajan by the police in Faizabad District, Uttar Pradesh. This is clearly an attempt to intimidate the media and muzzle its freedom.

The Wire has been accused of causing panic when it reported that the UP CM Adityanath, attended a public religious event on 25 March at Ayodhya, despite the countrywide lockdown. The Wire has responded that the Chief Minister’s attendance of this event is a matter of public record and knowledge. Hence, the IPC provisions on “disobedience of an order issued by a public servant” and issuing “statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes” mentioned in the FIRs do not apply. 

A sentence in an article published by The Wire on 31 March mistakenly attributed the claim that Lord Ram would protect his devotees from the Corona virus to CM Adityanath, a remark actually made by Acharya Paramhans. This was retracted the following day by the website and the necessary correction made.

Mritunjay Kumar, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister, had earlier taunted Vardarajan in a tweet, saying, “Along with running the website, [you] will have to seek donations to fight the case.”

This is gross intolerance of criticism, essential for independent media to function in a democracy. This is why we strongly condemn the FIR filed against our colleague Siddharth Varadarajan as politically motivated, and call on all citizens of conscience to insist on our right to a free and independent media.

Read the statement in Hindi here.

1 A Mangai 82 Nandita Narain
2 Abhijit Sengupta 83 Naresh Fernandes
3 Abhishek Majumdar 84 Naseeruddin Shah
4 Adil Jussawalla 85 Natasha Badhwar
5 Aditi Mehta 86 Navrekha Sharma
6 Adiya Nigam 87 Nayantara Sahgal
7 Akeel Bilgrami 88 Neelan Premji
8 Alok Perti 89 Neeraj Malik
9 Amit Bhaduri 90 Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay
10 Amit Chaudhuri 91 Nilima Sheikh
11 Amitabha Pande 92 Nirmal Mitra
12 Amitav Ghosh 93 Nivedita Menon
13 Ammu Joseph 94 Nupur Basu
14 Anand Patwardhan 95 P R Dasgupta
15 Anand Teltumbde 96 P Sainath
16 Anita Agnihotri 97 Padmaja Shaw
17 Anna Dani 98 Paranjoy Guha Thakurta
18 Anuradha Kapur 99 Partha Chatterjee
19 Ardhendu Sen 100 Parthasarathi Majumdar
20 Aruna Roy 101 Parvathi Menon
21 Ashok Sharma 102 Poile Sengupta
22 Atamjit Singh 103 Prabir Purkayastha
23 Ayesha Kidwai 104 Preeti Edakunny
24 B R P Bhaskar 105 Prema Viswanathan
25 Badri Raina 106 Purushottam Agrawal
26 Bharat Dogra 107 Pushpamala N
27 Bharati Jagannathan 108 Rahman Abbas
28 Bhasha Singh 109 Rajendra Chenni
29 C K Meena 110 Ratna Pathak Shah
30 Chaman Lal 111 Rekha Awasthi
31 Chandrakant Patil 112 Renu Ramanath
32 Chitrangada Choudhury 113 Revathi Siva Kumar
33 Debashis Chatterji 114 Revati Laul
34 Devaki Khanna 115 Ritu Menon
35 Devasahayam MG 116 Rukmini Bhaya Nair
36 Firoz Kamal 117 S Raghunandana
37 G N Devy 118 Sakuntala Narasimhan
38 Geeta Kapur 119 Saleem Peeradina
39 Geeta Seshu 120 Salim Yusufji
40 Geetanjali Shree 121 Samik Bandyopadhyay
41 Gita Jayaraj 122 Sandhya Srinivasan
42 Githa Hariharan 123 Sangeeta Luthra Sharma
43 Hari Vasudevan 124 Sanjeev Kumar
44 Hindal Tyabji 125 Satyabhama Subramanian
45 Indira Chandrasekhar 126 Saumya Chakrabarti
46 Indra Shekhar Shahh 127 Seema Mustafa
47 Javed Malick 128 Sevanti Ninan
48 Jeet Thayil 129 Shafey Kidwai
49 Jisha Elizabeth 130 Shamsul Islam
50 Jyothi A 131 Shankar Raghuraman
51 Jyoti Punwani 132 Shashi Deshpande
52 K P Fabian 133 Shoma A Chatterji
53 K. Satchidanandan 134 Sibaji Bandyopadhyay
54 Kamayani Bali Mahabal 135 SK Pande
55 Karen Gabriel 136 Srinivasa Gowda
56 Keki Daruwalla 137 Subhasis Nibirh
57 Keshav Desiraju 138 Subir Ghosh
58 Kingshuk Nag 139 Sudhanva Deshpande
59 Kumkum Roy 140 Sudhir Chandra
60 L H Naqvi 141 Sugata Srinivasaraju
61 Leela Jacinto 142 Sujata Madhok
62 M M P Singh 143 Sujatha Rao
63 Madhu Bhaduri 144 Sukanta Chaudhuri
64 Maja Daruwala 145 Sumi Krishna
65 Makarand Sathe 146 Sumit Sarkar
66 Mala Dayal 147 Sundar Burra
67 Malini Subramaniam 148 Suresh Goel
68 Mallika Sarabhai 149 Swapan Chakravorty
69 Manabi Majumdar 150 Sweta Singh
70 Mangad Rathnakaran 151 T M Krishna
71 Manishi Jani 152 Tanika Sarkar
72 Mannika Chopra 153 Tapati Guha Thakurta
73 Meena Gupta 154 Uma Bhrugubanda
74 Meena Menon 155 Vibha Puri Das
75 Meher 156 Vibodh Parthasarathi
76 Melanie P Kumar 157 Vijay Prashad
77 Mridula Garg 158 Vijaya Venkataraman
78 Mridula Koshy 159 Vinod K Jose
79 Mrinal Pande 160 Vivek Narayanan
80 Naina Dayal 161 Zoya Hasan
81 Nancy Adajania