The Editors Guild of India has deplored the controversial circular issued by Delhi government regarding defamatory news, calling it a crude attempt to still media criticism and demanded its immediate withdrawal.
In a statement yesterday, the Guild said that it is shocked by the circular asking public officials to report defamatory imputations relating to the Chief Minister, ministers and public officials in respect to their conduct in relation to their public functions for the purpose of launching criminal defamation proceedings against the media, there by enthroning intolerance as official policy.
The Guild said that it is strange that a Chief Minister and a party that rode to power on a popular democratic platform should turn intolerant when in office. It called upon the Delhi Government to withdraw the circular on defamation forth with and also ensure free access to its offices.
The statement said it has been the position of the Guild that defamation should be decriminalised and treated as a purely civil wrong. It said, criminal defamation goes against the international standards on freedom of expression and imposes an unreasonable restriction on freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution.