India: media worker booked after reporting hospital maladministration related to COVID-19Event
- Initial Date
- Aug 4, 2020
- Event Description
Sankalp Neb, a journalist from Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh, was booked for allegedly sharing an unverified Twitter post that suggested negative Covid-19 reports had been manipulated with a positive spin by district health authorities. The International Federation of Journalists and its Indian affiliates the Indian Journalists� Union (IJU) and the National Union of Journalists India (NUJ-I) condemn the harassment of Neb and call for the withdrawal of the complaint.
The tweet screenshot shared by the journalist Neb in a WhatsApp group on August 2 mentioned that Covid-19 negative reports were intentionally shown positive in the interest of private hospitals in the district. The screenshot further accuses the district health authorities hatching conspiracies to serve private hospital interests to receive government funding. It alleged the suspected involvement of the district�s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), BS Sodhi, in the �scam�.
The chief medical officer filed a complaint against the journalist on August 3. The First Information Report (FIR) registered under various sections of the �Epidemic Disease Act� and the �IT Act� accuses the journalist of defaming authorities without any substance.
Neb claimed that he merely re-posted the screenshot. He also advised he had been previously targeted for his past news reports that were critical to the state�s administration.
Neb is one of an increasing number of journalists in India being targeted for stories critical to the government�s handling of Covid-19. Under the cover of the pandemic, the Indian government has introduced restrictions on expression, resulting in a growing number of legal cases and summons against journalists in India.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Media Worker
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 4 August 2020, Sankalp Neb, media worker, was booked by a health officer after reporting hospital maladministration related to COVID-19 in Saharanpur, India.