IFJ Condemns Continuing Detention of Indian Journalist Naveen Soorinje

 

 

Media Release: India                                                                                       

January 8, 2013                

  

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

joins partners and affiliates in India in condemning the continued detention of

Naveen Soorinje, a journalist with the Kasturi TV news channel, in Mangalore

city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

 

Soorinje has

been held since November 7 on charges of involvement in a right-wing

vigilante group’s attack on group of reveling teenagers in a Mangalore resort  on July 28.

 

Following a

failure to obtain bail from a local magistrate’s court in Mangalore,

Soorinje made an appeal to the High Court of Karnataka, which ruled on November

19 that criminal proceedings be postponed until it arrived at a determination

in the matter.

 

On December 26, the High Court rejected the bail plea

on the grounds that Soorinje’s video recording of the attack indicated his

complicity.

 

Journalists’ unions in Mangalore city and neighbouring

Udupi have been campaigning for Soorinje’s release on the grounds that he was carrying

out his job as a journalist after being alerted to the attack by a source who

was close to the incident.

 

In fact it was Soorinje’s recording of the incident

that assisted local police in identifying and arresting many of the individuals

responsible for the violence.

 

On January 5, the Karnataka Union of Working

Journalists and other bodies rallied in the state capital of Bangalore and the

cities of Mysore and Mangalore, demanding Soorinje’s freedom and unconditional

discharge.

 

At a meeting with the Home Minister of Karnataka this

week, journalists’ unions were assured that the State Cabinet would consider the

matter and could make a request to local police to drop all charges against

Soorinje.

 

The IFJ Asia-Pacific stands in solidarity with the journalists’

unions in their campaign.

“We call for the Indian authorities to recognize the value

of public service journalism as carried out by Soorinje, rather than continue

his victimisation which undermines press freedom”.

 

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

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