Indian journalists accused of sedition over protest reporting

NEW DELHI (CNA) – Several senior Indian journalists are facing charges of sedition over their reporting and online posts about a protest by farmers last week, sparking criticism of the legal action from media associations.

The cases have been filed with police in at least five states against the journalists including Rajdeep Sardesai, a prominent anchor on the India Today television channel, and Vinod Jose, executive editor of the Caravan magazine. The cases, filed by residents of the states, allege that the journalists provoked violence during protests by farmers at New Delhi’s Red Fort on January 26 through incorrect posts on Twitter and reports that police had killed a protester.

Tens of thousands of farmers have camped out on the outskirts of the capital for more than two months, demanding the withdrawal of new agricultural laws that they say benefit private buyers at the expense of growers.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi said reform of the agriculture sector will bring opportunities for farmers.

The protests turned violent on January 26, when farmers broke into the historic Red Fort complex, with one protester killed and hundreds injured.