Editors Guild of India condemns the arrest of journalist Muhammad Zubair

Editors Guild demands the immediate release of Muhammad Zubair 

The Editors Guild of India condemns the arrest of Muhammad Zubair, co-founder of the fact checking site AltNews, by the Delhi Police on June 27, for a tweet from 2018. EGI demands that the Delhi Police should immediately release Muhammad Zubair.

Muhammad Zubair has been targeted because he exposed the lies and false narratives of BJP and extreme rightwing fascists groups. 

Alt-News co-founder Mohammed Zubair has been booked by the Uttar Pradesh police for a tweet where he called three controversial Hindu leaders — Yati Narasinghanand, Mahant Bajrang Muni and Anand Swaroop — ‘hatemongers’. Zubair has been booked under charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for outraging Hindu sentiments and Section 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act.

The  Press Club of India (PCI) and Committee to Protect Journalist (CPJ) have also declared the arrest of Muhammad Zubair ‘Disturbing,' and ‘Unjustifiable’ and demand his immediate release.

The Press Club of India (PCI) also deplored Zubair's arrest, asserting that freedom of expression is an essential "ingredient of democracy


"It is ironic that Mohammed Zubair's arrest by the Delhi Police came on a day when India joined G7 and four other countries to protect free speech 'online and offline'. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi attended the G7 meet in Germany where the signatories also committed to "protect freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and promoting inter-faith dialogue," PCI said in a statement.

It added that it was "disturbing" that Delhi police "hastily" arrested the AltNews co-founder around the same time when Modi associated himself with the "noble declaration along with world leaders."

The arrest "showed the blatant violation of the country's commitment on the global platform given by none other the Prime Minister himself," the statement read further.  

These Hindu leaders whom Zubair called hatemongers are known for making provocative and objectionable remarks against Muslims, and Yati Narsinghanand was also jailed in a hate speech case and later given bail.

On May 27, Zubair had called out a television channel for its reportage on the Gyanvapi issue and for allowing BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma to make provocative remarks against Prophet Mohammed on air. Zubair in a series of tweets had said that prime time debates on television channels “have become a platform to encourage hate mongers to speak ill about other religions.”

In another tweet, Zubair said, “Why do we need Hate Mongers like Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati or Mahant Bajrang Muni or Anand Swaroop to arrange a Dharam Sansad to speak against a community and a Religion when we already have Anchors who can do much better job from News Studios (sic).” 


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