Millennium Post

Cops seal office premises of private TV news channel in Noida after arrest of its head and editor

Noida (UP): The Noida office premises of private television news channel Nation Live has been sealed and the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration reported the matter to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, officials said Monday.

Channel's head Ishika Singh and editor Anuj Shukla were arrested on June 8, two days after it had aired allegedly controversial content defaming Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath "without verifying" its authenticity, the officials said.

On Sunday they were remanded in 14-day judicial custody by a local court, they said.

"The incident affects individuals here but its potential damage could have impacted entire Gautam Buddh Nagar, the state and even parts of the country, had it not been countered," District Magistrate Brajesh Narain Singh told reporters.

Singh and Noida police chief Vaibhav Krishna were responding to the criticism of the arrest of the two journalists, amid protests by social activists and Editors Guild of India, which have described the episode an attempt to "intimidate the press, and stifle freedom of expression".

"There is a report in a section of media that it is a case of defamation, but it is not only about defamation. It is about nuisance which has a larger impact on public order, peace and tranquillity, according to the administration. I request media for a deeper and not superficial analysis of the episode and see that if the district administration is trying to prevent such incidents, it is based on merit and is correct," Singh said.

"It was a fake and unauthorised channel, so there is sufficient ground for the action," he said, adding, we wanted a speedy remedial, as mentioned in the law, because of the possible consequences of the incident .

He said the case will be taken to its logical conclusion.

"We have apprised the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry about the matter in details and awaiting its response, he added.

Senior Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Krishna said two FIRs were registered in the case, one by the police and the other by a district information official.

"The incident could have created a law and order situation, a riot-like situation, hence filing FIRs and arresting the duo were needed and during probe it also emerged that they did not have requisite licence for operating a TV news channel," he said.

SSP Krishna said, We are not trying to regulate anything. Let it be very clear.

During a debate on the Noida-based news channel on June 6, a woman had allegedly made defamatory statements against Adityanath, according to the officials.

Workers affiliated to a political party had approached the police with a complaint against the news channel for broadcasting the claims of the woman without verifying facts, the officials said.

A case was registered against the channel officials at Phase 3 police station under Indian Penal Code sections 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 153 (promoting enmity between different groups), 505 [1] (Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report), 505 [2] (statements conducing to public mischief), the police said.

An additional complaint over the illegal operation of the channel was made by district additional director, information, at Phase 3 police station following which an FIR under IPC sections 420 (fraud), 467 (forgery of documents) and related offences was registered, the police said.

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