Dear Reader,

The space for independent and free media in India has been shrinking, with incidents of wanton attacks and booking of cases against journalists on the rise. The arrest of two women journalists - Samriddhi Sakunia and Swarna Jha of the HW News Network, a grantee of the Foundation - by the Tripura Police on Sunday, being the most recent, in a series of such instances.

EastMojo reports that the two Delhi-based journalists, who were on their way from Tripura after reporting on the cases of recent communal violence in the state, were arrested for “promoting enmity between religious groups”, and subsequently given bail by a local court.

HW News speaks to senior advocate Pijush Biswas, who represented the journalists before the Udaipur Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Tripura. Questioning the manner in which the two women journalists were arrested, the advocate said that the Police action was “vindictive”.

The Editors Guild of India, the Indian Women’s Press Corps, DigiPub (a representative of the digital media organisations) and HW News Network strongly condemned the action of the Tripura Police as one more in a “sustained pattern of intimidation” of journalists.

In UP, another state that has been injurious to journalists’ health, Article 14 tracks 12 cases against scribes, including those filed under terror laws, since 2019. The story records the stern battles they fight and the trauma they face.

In Tripura, independent civil society organisations have not been spared either. The Caravan reports that the Tripura Police has filed an FIR under the dreaded UAPA last week against a team of advocates from Delhi – ‘The Lawyers for Democracy’ – for conducting a ‘fact-finding enquiry’ into incidents of communal violence in the state in October. The police action was condemned by civil society organisations for seeking “to criminalise a constitutional and democratic duty of every citizen, to seek the truth about communal violence”.

Meanwhile, Alt News fact checks and finds that contrary to the Tripura Police’s claim that “no masjid was burnt” in the communal violence in the state and the pictures circulating on social media were “fake”, a mosque in Panisagar, in North Tripura, was indeed vandalised and partly torched.

For these stories and more from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Tripura: Two women journalists held for violence report arrested

EastMojo reports on the arrest of two women journalists working with HW News Network, one of the Foundation’s grantees, by the Tripura Police. According to the report, the duo was arrested for their ground-reporting in Tripura on the communal violence last month which saw attacks on the properties of the minorities in the state.

Read Here


FIR Filed Against Samriddhi Sakunia & Swarna Jha For Harassment, Says Senior Advocate Pijush Biswas

After the two women journalists were arrested by the Tripura police and were later granted bail, HW News speaks to senior advocate Pijush Biswas, who represented the journalists in the Court and discusses the veracity of the allegations and the FIR against the scribes.

Watch Here


In Uttar Pradesh, The Yogi Govt's War Against Journalists Is Chilling Free Speech

Article 14 reports how the Uttar Pradesh government has been targeting journalists and news organisations critical of the state’s functioning; and tracks the 12 cases filed against journalists since 2019.

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PUCL condemns Tripura Police’s case on lawyers for fact-finding report on communal violence

The Caravan dwells into the FIR filed under UAPA against the “Lawyers for Democracy” - a team of lawyers from Delhi who had conducted a fact-finding enquiry into incidents of communal violence in Tripura in October. Incidents that were suo moto taken cognisance of by the High Court and the state asked to respond.

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Tripura police claims no mosque was torched in Panisagar but ground reality differs

After the incidents of communal violence reported in Tripura's two districts, the pictures of a mosque being burnt went viral on social media. The Tripura Police said that no masjid was burnt and the pictures being shared “was all fake and certainly not from Tripura”. However, Alt News fact checked and found that Tripura Police was being grossly economical with the truth.

Read Here

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