India: media worker arrested after reporting Government's shortcomings on COVID-19 handlingEvent
- Initial Date
- Apr 23, 2020
- Event Description
The R.S. Puram police in Coimbatore on Thursday arrested Andrew Sam Raja Pandian, founder of a portal called SimpliCity, in connection with certain news it published on alleged shortcomings faced by government healthcare professionals and alleged corruption by some employees of a public distribution system (PDS) outlet. The action followed a complaint from an official of the Coimbatore Corporation who alleged that the reports were 'false' and 'provocative' against the State Government. He was arrested for offences under Sections 188, 505 (i) of the IPC and Section 3 of the Epidemic Diseases Act.
Mr. Pandian was arrested late on Thursday, hours after the police questioned him, a journalist and a photographer of the portal. He was produced before the magistrate and remanded in judicial custody.
As per the First Information Report, the police registered a case against the publisher of SimpliCity on Wednesday based on a complaint filed by M. Sundararajan, Assistant Commissioner (Personal).
The complainant said that he found the reports by the news platform on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp which carried false information regarding the functioning of Government healthcare professionals and PDS employees while the Government machinery was struggling to combat COVID-19 spread.
While one report said that Government healthcare professionals were struggling for food, another one said that PDS employees were stealing COVID relief fund meant for the poor, said the FIR.
The complainant alleged that such reports were provocative enough to turn healthcare professionals and PDS employees against the Government. He also alleged that they could also lead healthcare professionals to stop working, thus affecting COVID-19 management in the State. Also, distributions of aids and essentials to the public would be affected if PDS employees stopped working, he alleged in the complaint.
Journalists� forum in Coimbatore and Tiruppur condemned the police action.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Media freedom
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to information
- Media Worker
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 23 April 2020, Andrew Sam Raja Pandian, media worker, was arrested by the police after reporting Government's shortcomings on COVID-19 handling in Coimbatore, India.