Nakkheeran Gopal Editor And Publisher of Nakkheeran magazine was arrested this morning at Chennai Airport when he was about to board a flight to Pune. The Editors of leading Tamil and English dailies and magazines and Editors of television news media issued a joint statement condemning the arrest of Nakkheeran Gopal under section 124 IPC . They also emphasised that the case must be withdrawn immediately. The joint statement issued is as below.
We, Editors, Publishers, and senior representatives of the print, broadcast, and digital media in Tamil Nadu, strongly condemn the draconian use of Section 124 of the Indian Penal Code against the Editor and Publisher of Nakkheeran magazine, Mr Nakkeeran Gopal, for publishing in the issue dated April 20-22, 2018 an allegedly offensive article about the Governor of Tamil Nadu. The invocation of Section 124 IPC to attempt to prosecute an Editor for publishing an allegedly objectionable article is unprecedented and unheard of. This section deals with assaulting the President, Governors, etc. with an intent to compel or restrain by criminal force the exercise of any lawful power by them. It is most unfortunate that the office of the Governor sought that a case be registered under Section 124 IPC against Mr Gopal and several others.
The intention of the Government of Tamil Nadu in invoking this section against the media is highly disturbing. It is a clear attempt to intimidate and gag the media. If allowed, it will be a deadly blow to the freedom of speech and expression, of which the freedom of the news media is an integral part. The manner in which the arrest of Mr Gopal was executed was in flagrant violation of the guidelines stipulated by the Supreme Court of India.
The silver lining in the otherwise dark cloud that has gathered over the media in Tamil Nadu was the rejection of the remand application by the learned Thirteenth Metropolitan Magistrate, Mr S. Gopinathan, after hearing the arguments on both sides in detail. This is the finest tribute to the independence of the judiciary and to its commitment to upholding the freedom of the media, which is guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
We demand the immediate withdrawal of this case against Mr Gopal and others referred to in the complaint.
N. Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Publishing Group
B. Srinivasan, Editor and Publisher, Ananda Vikatan, and Managing Director, Vikatan Group
K. Ramusubbu, Editor, Dinamalar
L. Ramasubbu, Publisher, Dinamalar – Madurai and Coimbatore
L. Adimoolam, Publisher – Coimbatore, Dinamalar
S. Karthigaichelvan, Managing Editor, Puthiya Thalaimurai TV
R. M. Ramesh, Publisher, Dinakaran
Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor, The Hindu
M. Gunasekaran, Editor, News 18 Tamilnadu
Bhagwan Singh, Editor, Deccan Chronicle
Arun Ram, Editor, Times of India, Chennai