Indian Channel Says Government Gagging Media

By Alex Johnston On November 28, 2012 @ 6:31 pm In South Asia | No Comments

A screenshot of a video on the website of Indian television channel Zee News taken on Nov. 28, 2012. Two of the channel's editors were arrested Wednesday, a move which the channel has described as an "illegal and motivated prosecution." (Screenshot/Zee News)

A screenshot of a video on the website of Indian television channel Zee News taken on Nov. 28, 2012. Two of the channel's editors were arrested Wednesday, a move which the channel has described as an "illegal and motivated prosecution." (Screenshot/Zee News)

Zee News, an Indian television channel, decried the arrest of two of its senior staff members Wednesday, characterizing the move as an “attack on press freedom.”

In an editorial, the channel accused the government of “pushing the media to not speak the truth and to gag it.”

Samir Ahluwalia, the head of the business section, and Sudhir Chaudhary, the head of the news department of Zee News, were ordered to stay in police custody Wednesday by a court in New Delhi.

The editors have been accused by lawmaker Naveen Jindal, who is also a steel tycoon, of extortion, reported India-based NDTV. Zee News has denied such claims.

“The channel strongly condemns the arbitrary and illegal action of the Delhi Police in arresting its two editors and for initiating a malicious, illegal, and motivated prosecution,” Zee News said.

According to the channel “the arrests have been made to sensationalize the issue and to lend a cover to the coal scam” that has rocked the Indian government in recent months.

Police in New Delhi told NDTV they kept the two in detention to “gather more information about the conspiracy through sustained interrogation.”

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