A journalist jailed for making derogatory comments on social media against a chief minister with the ruling-right wing party was ordered released by India’s Supreme Court yesterday.
Prashant Kanojia, a freelance journalist, was arrested Saturday after he uploaded and commented on a video of a woman claiming to be in love with Yogi Adityanath, a firebrand Hindu monk who is chief minister of Uttar Pradesh state.
“The judges have directed (the) immediate release of Prashant today,” defence lawyer Shadan Farasat told reporters. Local media reports said the judges had criticised the high-handed manner of Kanojia’s arrest, calling it “illegal” and “unconstitutional”.
The court however said its order should not be seen as approval of Kanojia’s social media posts and that legal proceedings against him would continue according to law.
The Editors Guild of India had slammed Kanojia’s arrest, calling the police action “arbitrary” and “an authoritarian misuse of laws”.
“The Guild sees it as an effort to intimidate the press, and stifle freedom of expression,” it said in a statement on Sunday.