In a statement issued on social media, the Editor's Guild has condemned the stand-off between Mumbai Police and Republic TV, which has resulted in multiple FIRs being filed against the channel.
Terming the conflict as an "unedifying spectacle", the Guild remarked that it was not in the interests of a free media to have state power used against them.
"This standoff between the Mumbai Police and the TV channel is unprecedented and threatens the tenuous but important to maintain a balance between media freedom and the imperative for it to reside within the rule of law," the statement reads.
Last week, Mumbai Police had booked Republic TV's editorial team for inciting disaffection amongst the police and is also pursuing the channel for its alleged involvement in the TRP fraud case. Higher-ups in Republic TV including Arnab Goswami have been questioned with Republic TV alleging that its executive editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy was threatened to reveal confidential sources.
While defending Republic against what it called "arbitrary state power" being used against them, the Editor's Guild also censured Republic TV for sensational and unprofessional reporting.
"Republic TV's high-strung conduct during the unfortunate demise of film actor, Sushant Singh Rajput also raises issues about media credibility and the limits to reporting," the Guild said, pointing out that even the Supreme Court had questioned the targeting of actress Rhea Chakraborty and whether such reporting came under the umbrella of investigative journalism.
The statement also makes it clear that the Guild will not interfere in the investigations and even regards them as important to bring out transparency in the case of TRP fraud. But it was important for Republic TV to behave responsibly and not hurt the collective credibility of the media even as the onus was on Mumbai Police to not target the media they said.