World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


WAN-IFRA calls upon the Indian authorities to reject proposed new laws designed to prevent the media from investigating and reporting on corruption charges against public servants

WAN-IFRA calls upon the Indian authorities to reject proposed new laws designed to prevent the media from investigating and reporting on corruption charges against public servants

New York City, USA – 2017-12-08

At the occasion of its second annual meeting, the Board of WAN-IFRA passed a resolution calling upon the authorities of the state of Rajasthan, India, to categorically reject proposed new laws that are designed to prevent the media from investigating and reporting on corruption charges against public servants, including ministers and judges.

The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting in New York, United States of America on 8th December 2017, calls on the authorities of the state of Rajasthan, India, to categorically reject proposed new laws that are designed to prevent the media from investigating and reporting on corruption charges against public servants, including ministers and judges.

The Board of WAN-IFRA is aware that the government of Rajasthan has promulgated the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017 that seeks to prevent courts and the press from freely investigating misdemeanours of public servants without prior government approval. Public pressure has reportedly forced the government to delay its controversial proposals by referring them to a select committee in the State Assembly.

The Board of WAN-IFRA remains seriously concerned at this blatant attempt to silence the press and reduce its effectiveness by threatening criminal prosecution. Indeed, the Board understands that, under the proposal, journalists found to have contravened the Ordinance would risk fines and prison terms of up to two years. If enacted, the proposal would seriously weaken the foundations of journalism and diminish the press’s watchdog role over government, a crucial role in any democracy.

The Board of WAN-IFRA reminds the government of Rajasthan that it has a duty to support the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”

The Board of WAN-IFRA calls on the Rajasthan government, and in particular the individual members of the select committee tasked with examining the proposal within the State Assembly, to take all possible steps to ensure that the Ordinance is withdrawn and that the freedom of the press is upheld. 

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