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'Extremely disturbing': Editors Guild of India condemns journo Zubair's arrest

Extremely disturbing: Editors Guild of India condemns journo Zubairs arrest

New Delhi: Calling it "extremely disturbing", the Editors Guild of India on Tuesday condemned the arrest of AltNews co-founder Muhammad Zubair and demanded his immediate release.

"Zubair has been arrested under Sections 153 and 295 of the Indian Penal Code. This is extremely disturbing because Zubair and his website AltNews have done some exemplary work over the past few years in identifying fake news and countering disinformation campaigns, in a very objective and factual manner," the Guild said.

Slamming "those who use disinformation as a tool to polarise the society and rake nationalist sentiments", the Editors Guild of India further stated that AltNews' "alert vigilance" was resented by them.

It noted that his immediate release is necessary to buttress the commitments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G7 meeting in Germany to ensure a resilient democracy by protecting online and offline content, thereby supporting India's position.

This comes as the G7 joint statement released yesterday said that the countries are committed to open public debate, independent and pluralistic media, and the free flow of information online and offline, fostering legitimacy, transparency, responsibility, and accountability for citizens and elected representatives alike.

Zubair was arrested for a 2018 tweet that was "highly provocative and more than sufficient to incite feelings of hatred" among people, a Delhi Police First Information Report (FIR) had said. The Special Cell of the Delhi Police arrested him on Monday on charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and deliberate acts to outrage religious feelings.

In the tweet, Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-check site Alt News, shared a clip from legendary filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee's 1983 classic Kissi Se Na Kehna.

The FIR says the complainant in the case, a police sub-inspector, was monitoring social media when he came across Twitter user @balajikijaiin's post seeking action against Zubair's tweet, which said: "BEFORE 2014: Honeymoon Hotel. After 2014: Hanuman Hotel." The tweet was posted with an image of the hotel's signboard.

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TAGS:Mohammed Zubair AltNews Editors Guild of India 
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