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इंडियन आवाज़     19 Jul 2018 09:00:43      انڈین آواز
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Media bodies condemn FIR against Tribune journalists

PCI

AMN /NEW DELHI

The Press Club of India, Indian Women’s Press Corps and Press Association express their strong objection and condemnation at the registration of a FIR against a reporter of The Tribune by an officer of the Unique Identification Authority of India for writing a story exposing alleged loopholes in the system.

The FIR, lodged with the Cyber Cell of the Crime Branch invokes serious charges under the IPC, IT Act and Aadhaar Act. This move runs counter to the UIDAI’s claim that “the Aadhaar data including biometric information is fully safe and secure”.

If there is no breach, what is the offence they have supposed to have committed? Rather than addressing the loopholes which would actually ensure safety and security of the data and allay the general concerns about this,  the UIDAI has chosen to persecute those whose actions appear to have been only in public interest – i.e, drawing attention to the possibility of data insecurity before someone with ulterior motives is able to exploit them,.

The UIDAI filing criminal complaints against the reporter and her sources is clearly reflective of its misplaced priorities. We, the undersigned organisations find the UIDAI’s move extremely intimidating, obstructionist and inimical to the pursuit of free, fair and independent journalism. We demand that the complaint and the proceedings related to it should be withdrawn forthwith.

FIR against reporter attack on free press: Editor’s Guild

Editor’s Guild called the FIR an “attempt to browbeat” the reporter. “The Guild condemns UIDAI’s action to have the Tribune reporter booked by the police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest. It is unfair, unjustified and a direct attack on the freedom of the press. Instead of penalising the reporter, UIDAI should have ordered a thorough internal investigation into the alleged breach and made its findings public,” Guild in a statement said. It asked the Union Ministry to have cases against the reporter withdrawn and conduct an “impartial investigation” into the incident.

Press Club of Jammu condemns FIR against Tribune reporter

Jammu: Strongly condemning registration of FIR against reporter of The Tribune reporter for exposing loopholes in the system through investigating reporting, Press Club of Jammu (PCJ) called this decision as an attempt to gag the media.

In a statement issued here, Ashwani Kumar , President, Press Club of Jammu strongly condemned the action of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for lodging an FIR against Tribune reporter over story on Aadhar data breach.

“Instead of plugging loopholes and taking action against the real culprits involved in leaking data, the government agencies, unfortunately, lodged FIR against reporter, who exposes the loopholes in the system”, the statement issued by president PCJ Ashwani Kumar mentioned.

“UIDAI’s action to have the Tribune reporter booked by the police as it is clearly meant to browbeat a journalist whose investigation on the matter was of great public interest”, Ashwani Kumar said and termed the action as a direct attack on the freedom of the press.

The Tribune report had claimed that it took just Rs 500 and 10 minutes for the newspaper to get an access through an “agent” to every detail of any individual submitted to the UIDAI, including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.

An FIR under Indian Penal Code Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) has filed against The Tribune reporter Rachna Khaira.

Zorawar Singh Jamwal

Secretary General

Press Club of Jammu
Jammu

MUMBAI PRESS CLUB ALSO CONDEMNS

The Mumbai Press Club has strongly condemned the unilateral action of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for lodging an FIR against Tribune reporter Rachna Khaira over story on Aadhar data breach.

The Tribune report had claimed that it took just Rs 500 and 10 minutes for the newspaper to get an access through an “agent” to every detail of any individual submitted to the UIDAI, including name, address, postal code (PIN), photo, phone number and email.

According to The Indian Express report, an unnamed deputy director has filed an FIR under Indian Penal Code Sections 419 (punishment for cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) against the accused.

This will be treated as nothing short of an attack on the privileges and rights of a free press, and the administration would be well advised to avoid a clash with the Fourth Estate.

Mumbai Press Club demands an impartial inquiry on the Aadhar data sale and take action against those involved in the data breach instead of taking action against the journalist who exposed it.

Dharmendra Jore

Secretary

Mumbai Press Club
After Aadhaar expose, FIR against The Tribune, reporter

New Delhi

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has filed a case against The Tribune and its reporter Rachna Khaira with the Cyber Cell of the Crime Branch of Delhi Police over the Aadhaar data leak reports.

The case was filed on Saturday by a Deputy Director of the UIDAI. Joint Commissioner of Police Alok Kumar (Crime Branch), while confirming the development to The Tribune on Sunday, said it was against the paper and the reporter. “The FIR has been registered by the UIDAI. Soon an investigation will be initiated.” he added.

The FIR has been registered against The Tribune newspaper, reporter Rachna Khaira, and three names (Anil Kumar, Sunil Kumar, and Raj) that were given to Khaira over WhatsApp by members of the anonymous group of sellers of Aadhaar access.

The sections under which the UIDAI complaint has been registered are 419, 420, and 468 of the IPC, and Section 66 of the IT Act, 2000. Besides, Sections 36 and 37 of the Aadhaar Act have also been invoked. The complaint was lodged by B.M. Patnaik, DD (Logistics and Grievance Redressal), UIDAI HQ, Connaught Circus, New Delhi.

On January 4, The Tribune reported how anonymous sellers over WhatsApp were providing access to Aadhaar data for a fee. The expose revealed that for a mere Rs 500 paid through Paytm, an agent of the group running the racket would provide a login ID and password for such access. Among the data available were the name, address, postal code, photo, phone number and email. (The Tribune)

 

The Tribune Editor-in-Chief’s statement on Aadhaar FIR

My colleagues and I are grateful for expressions of support and solidarity from media organisations and journalists.

We at The Tribune believe that our stories were in the nature of a legitimate journalistic exercise.

Our stories are in the best traditions of responsible journalism.

Our story was in response to a very genuine concern among the citizens on a matter of great public interest.

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.

Harish Khare,

Editor-in-Chief,

The Tribune

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