Press Council of India chairman Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad on Tuesday sought a report on the arrest of local journalist Prabhat Singh from the Chhattisgarh chief secretary and the director general of police. The Council observed that the police action appears to be a violation of press freedom, reported PTI.
Prasad expressed concern that Singh was arrested by the Chhattisgarh police for allegedly posting an "obscene message" about a senior police officer on WhatsApp. "Taking suo-motu cognisance of the issue, the Chairman ordered a report on the facts of the case from the chief secretary, director general of police, Chhattisgarh, and the superintendent of police, Bastar," the PCI statement said.The National Human Rights Commission has also issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government over the "arrest and torture" of the Bastar journalist. Singh was arrested in Jagdalpur on March 21 on charges of cheating, preventing public servant from discharging his duties and under the IT Act for circulating insulting messages on WhatsApp groups.
On Tuesday, an Editors Guild of India team that traveled to Chhattisgarh released a report observing that journalists in the state were "working under tremendous pressure". They said there was a "sense of fear" among journalists in the conflict-affected region of Bastar and even those working in the state capital Raipur complained of their phones being tapped.