High Court Orders Stay in Criminal Proceedings against Indian Journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes

the decision by the High Court in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, to

stay criminal proceedings against TV news reporter Naveen Soorinje, who was arrested on November 7, on charges of involvement in an attack on a group of

teenagers by a right-wing political group on July 28.


After a hearing on November 17, Soorinje’s plea for

bail was turned down by a magistrate in Mangalore city, where he is based and

where he is now being held in custody. In arriving at his ruling, the

magistrate held that the veracity of Soorinje’s plea --that he was only at the

scene of the attack as a reporter doing his job, could only be established

after a full-fledged trial.


Hearing the matter on November 19, the Karnataka High

Court ruled that proceedings against Soorinje be stayed until the next hearing

of his appeal.


The Delhi Union of Journalists, a unit of the

IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’ Union, has welcomed the ruling by the

Karnataka High Court and called for an early decision on his plea for

unconditional discharge.


Journalists unions and civil society organisations in

Mangalore city and the neighbouring district of Udupi, have expressed

solidarity with Soorinje, whose news reports were invaluable in the arrests of

the main suspects in the July 28 incident.



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