Karnataka police cautioned on misuse of law against scribes


New Delhi : The Editors Guild of India (EGI) Tuesday cautioned Karnataka police against using the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to make a reporter of a leading Kannada daily reveal his sources.

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“Professional ethics demand that media persons should protect their sources and not reveal their identities when they request privacy,” EGI president Rajdeep Sardesai and secretary general Coomi Kapoor said in a statement.

Police in Shimoga, about 270 kms from Bangalore, reportedly threatened Rahul Belagali, a reporter of Prajavani daily, they would use the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against him if he does not share information on a Maoist leader he had interviewed.

“The Shimoga police had demanded information on the Naxalite leader who the reporter had interviewed for an article on Naxalism (Maoist) which appeared in his publication. When the reporter refused to comply, the police also sent a notice to his associate editor, Padmaraj Dandevali, threatening to use the same act against him,” Sardesai and Kapoor said in the statement.

Cautioning the Karnataka police against using the act to proceed against Belagali, they noted: “The confidentiality of a source is a well established journalistic principle.

“Without such privilege, sources would not be willing to speak freely to the media, whose duty it is to report the facts fairly and objectively from all points of view to present a true picture to the public,” they said.