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
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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