Freedom of expression is fundamental, universal freedom: UN Spokesman

Yoshita Singh
·2-min read

United Nations, Feb 2 (PTI) A spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the freedom of expression is a fundamental, universal freedom, and people should be able to speak their minds and opine freely.

'Look, I'm not particularly familiar with that case. What I can tell you is that the freedom of expression is a fundamental, universal freedom, and people should be able to speak their minds and opine freely,' Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said on Monday.

Dujarric was responding to a question by a Pakistani journalist on the sedition charges against Congress MP Shashi Tharoor and six journalists following the farmers’ tractor rally in New Delhi on January 26.

Tharoor and journalists Mrinal Pande, Rajdeep Sardesai, Vinod Jose, Zafar Agha, Paresh Nath and Anant Nath were booked by the Noida Police for sedition, among other charges, over the violence during the farmers' tractor rally in New Delhi.

The FIR was lodged following a complaint by a resident who alleged that 'digital broadcast' and 'social media posts' by these people were responsible for the violence during a tractor rally by farmers in the national capital.

Media bodies have strongly condemned the filing of FIRs against senior editors and journalists for their reporting on the farmers' tractor rally and the ensuing violence here on Republic Day, saying it was an attempt to 'browbeat' and 'intimidate' the media.

The Editors Guild (EGI) said it 'strongly condemns the intimidating manner in the way in which the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh Police' have registered FIRs against senior editors and journalists (including current and former office-bearers of EGI) for reporting on the farmers' protest rallies and the ensuing violence that took place in the national capital on January 26.

The Press Club of India said it is shocked to learn that UP and MP police have lodged FIRs against respected journalists, and others, on various counts of breach of criminal law, including sedition. PTI YAS NSA