Freedom of expression is a fundamental universal freedom: UN spokesperson

Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has said as a general enunciation of a principle in regard to India

Arul Louis Feb 02, 2021
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Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has said as a general enunciation of a principle in regard to India.

Asked by a Pakistani correspondent on Monday about the filing of sedition cases against former UN official Shashi Tharoor and several journalists in India, Dujarric said, “Look, I'm not particularly familiar with that case. What I can tell you is that the freedom of expression is a fundamental universal freedom and people should be able to speak their mind and opine freely.”

Congress Party MP Tharoor, who is a former UN under secretary-general, and six journalists including Mrinal Pande, India Today's Rajdeep Sardesai and Caravan's Vinod Jose are facing sedition and other charges in several states on the basis of complaints by individuals over tweets about the farmer's protest on Republic Day.

They had allegedly tweeted erroneously raising tensions that a farmer had died during the protest due to police firing when in fact the man had died when his tractor overturned.

The Editors Guild of India condemned the filing of cases on the basis of their alleged tweets asserting that they conformed to established journalistic practices.

“On the day of the protest and high action, several reports were emerging from eyewitnesses on the ground as well as from the police, and therefore it was only natural for journalists to report all the details as they emerged. This is in line with established norms of journalistic practice,” the statement explained.