Media protests against UIDAI FIR against Tribune reporter showing solidarity with the reporter and the newspaper. The Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Central government is fully committed to media freedom…..reports Asian Lite News
Scores of journalists held demonstrations in Punjab and Chandigarh on Monday to protest against the UIDAI’s move to register a case against The Tribune newspaper and one of its reporters for exposing illegal data leak of Aadhaar details.
The protests were organised on behalf of the Chandigarh Press Club, the Punjab Press Club in Jalandhar, the Patiala Media Club and the Sangrur Press Club.
Similar protests also took place in other places in Punjab and Haryana to show solidarity with the reporter and the newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said the Central government is fully committed to media freedom.
“The government is fully committed to freedom of the press as well as to maintaining security and sanctity of Aadhaar for India’s development,” Prasad tweeted a day after various press bodies condemned the lodging of an FIR against a Tribune reporter who exposed Aadhaar data’s vulnerability.
“The FIR is against unknown (people). I’ve suggested UIDAI to request The Tribune and its journalist to give all assistance to police in investigating the real offenders.”
After a January 3 report by The Tribune over breach in Aadhaar data with a headline “Rs 500, 10 minutes, and you have access to billion Aadhaar details”, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) registered an FIR against the newspaper and reporter Rachna Khaira.
The FIR, lodged with the Cyber Cell of the Crime Branch, invokes serious charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), IT Act and Aadhaar Act.
The UIDAI on January 4 said its search facility for grievance redressal may have been “misused” but denied any breach or leak of Aadhaar data.
The UIDAI move has attracted widespread criticism from press bodies, Editors Guild and journalists across the country who have demanded the withdrawal of cases against the newspaper and its reporter.
The Tribune has stood by its story and rebutted claims made by the UIDAI. “We at The Tribune believe that our stories were in the nature of a legitimate journalistic exercise.
“Our story was in response to a very genuine concern among the citizens on a matter of great public interest,” Tribune’s Editor-in-Chief Harish Khare said in a note on the newspaper’s website on Sunday.
“We regret very much that the authorities have misconceived an honest journalistic enterprise and have proceeded to institute criminal proceedings against the whistleblower.
“We shall explore all legal options open to us to defend our freedom to undertake serious investigative journalism,” he added.