20 November 2012
High Court Orders Stay in Criminal Proceedings against Indian Journalist
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the decision by the High Court in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, to stay criminal proceedings against TV news reporter Naveen Soorinje, who was arrested on November 7, on charges of involvement in an attack on a group of teenagers by a right-wing political group on July 28.
After a hearing on November 17, Soorinje’s plea for bail was turned down by a magistrate in Mangalore city, where he is based and where he is now being held in custody. In arriving at his ruling, the magistrate held that the veracity of Soorinje’s plea --that he was only at the scene of the attack as a reporter doing his job, could only be established after a full-fledged trial.
Hearing the matter on November 19, the Karnataka High Court ruled that proceedings against Soorinje be stayed until the next hearing of his appeal.
The Delhi Union of Journalists, a unit of the IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’ Union, has welcomed the ruling by the Karnataka High Court and called for an early decision on his plea for unconditional discharge.
Journalists unions and civil society organisations in Mangalore city and the neighbouring district of Udupi, have expressed solidarity with Soorinje, whose news reports were invaluable in the arrests of the main suspects in the July 28 incident.
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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