Police gag media in Kanpur

IN Opinion | 21/10/2010
Letter to the Hoot: Police officials have tried all means to suppress the coverage of the rape and murder of an 11-year-old school girl.
ABHISHEK PANDEY asks if freedom of expression exists in Kanpur

Police officials came down heavily on media persons for their extensive reporting on an 11-year old school girl who was sodomised in a school premises and died of profuse bleeding from her private parts. The girl died on September 27, 2010. Media organisations such as the  Hindustan Times, Hindustan, NewsX, Amar Ujala and others extensively covered the issue. and the media advocacy resulted in a people's movement, candle light march , meeting with administrative officials and demonstrations across the city for bringing justice to the girl's family.

The investigation officer (IO) and Station Officer, Anil Kumar, summoned over 21 journalists under section 160 of CrPC and asked them to substantiate their reports.
 Police officials are also allegedly making threatening calls to newspaper offices and warning reporters to not file stories on the issue or face consequences. In what looks like an all-out crack down, several vehicles transporting newspapers were also halted by the police for flouting norms.
The media barrage has followed a poor showing by the police who have failed to establish a case against any of the four people whom they have arrested for the crime. Police theories and explanations have been full of loopholes and it is not only the media but social activists, students and other youth have come forward demanding action.
The police have not only targeted the media but also caned the family members of the girls outside the school where she died. Does the right to speech and expression exist in Kanpur? Can police force the media to reveal its news sources?
Now a CBCID inquiry has been ordered in this case.
Abhishek Pandey
October 17, 2010








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