One journalist was arrested and another was held in Ambala cantonment here for allegedly mentioning the “incorrect place” of arrest of a suspected terrorist in a report, which prompted the opposition to attack the government of Haryana for “suppressing” freedom of the press.
An FIR was registered against journalist Sunil Brar and editor-in-chief Sandeep Sharma of Dainik Bhaskar on Thursday under different sections of the IPC, police said, adding that Brar was arrested yesterday. Efforts are underway to catch Sharma, they said.
A suspected terrorist was arrested Wednesday by Punjab police for an alleged Tiffin bomb plot in the village of Mardon Sahib in Ambala. The headline of the next day’s newspaper read that “Punjab police demand arrest of terrorist in Cantt from nearby IOC depot”.
However, the newspaper published a correction the next day on where the suspected terrorist was arrested.
SHO, Ambala Cantt, Vijay Kumar said the case against the journalists was registered as they released the news without any authentication. Journalists Sunil Brar and Sandeep Sharma have spread fear among the masses by publishing fake news, he added.
Both were reserved under sections 153 of the IPC (willful provocation with intent to riot), 177 (providing false information), 504 (intentional insult with intent to cause a breach of the peace) and 505 (2) (statement creating or promoting inter-class hostility, hatred or malice), police said.
Meanwhile, Brar was produced today in the Mukesh Kumar Duty Court. The court granted him bail for providing a personal bond of Rs 50,000.
Hooked on the issue, opposition parties, including Congress, the INLD, the Haryana Democratic Front and the BSP, criticized the measures taken against the media.
Top Congressman Rohit Jain said the arrest was made against the leadership of the Supreme Court. He said the police gave the reporter no notice before arresting him.
Chitra Sarwara, a senior Haryana Democratic Front official, and BSP leader Prakash Bharti alleged that the police violated democratic standards. It is an attack on press freedom, they said.