10 days ago, Pawan kumar Jaiswal, journalist broke the story of school children in Mirzapur district being fed Rotis with salt as mid-day meal. He was just doing his job as a journalist. Little did he know that he would be booked under criminal conspiracy for doing his job.
The story went viral and has brought the ire of the state administration who does not want another story of negligence from Uttar Pradesh. Normally, the administration takes action against the negligent authorities, but the UP government wants to cut the source of the information itself and in its attempt to shoot the messenger has booked the journalist for reporting on the story itself.
Pawan Kumar Jaiswal, the journalist who recorded the video of the school children, and village-head representative Rajkumar Pal have been booked under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharging duty), 193 (false evidence) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code.
Pawan Kumar Jaiswal says that he was informed of the irregularity in mid-day meal scheme. The children were given rotis with salt or rice with salt. He had also informed the assistant primary education authority and went to cover the news. The district administration said that they will take action against the culprits but instead they booked the journalist for reporting the story.
After the video became viral, many higher authorities have visited the village and met with children and villagers. But instead of taking action against the school administration, the education secretary have filed a case against the journalist for interfering the government work by fraudulent video and defamation of the state government.
The fourth pillar of democracy is already under attack. Journalists are paying the big price of reporting stories in India especially reportage from smaller towns and interior of the country. Most journalists are either devoted/ bought by the government, the remaining journalists who have spine are being silenced by police intimidation or slapped arbitrary charges against them.