World Association of News Publishers

Protest Campaign - India, 31 October 2017

Protest Campaign - India, 31 October 2017

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The Right Honourable Mr. Narendra Modi
Prime Minister of India
South Block, New Delhi.

Via email

31 October, 2017


Dear Prime Minister,

We are writing on behalf of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum, which represent 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries, to express our serious concern at moves by the government of Rajasthan to prevent the media from investigating and reporting on corruption charges against public servants, including ministers and judges.

According to reports, the government of Rajasthan promulgated the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Ordinance 2017 that seeks to prevent courts and the press from investigating misdemeanours of public servants without prior government approval. Public pressure has reportedly forced the government to delay its controversial proposals by referring them to a select committee in the State Assembly.

We are seriously concerned at this blatant attempt to silence the press and reduce its effectiveness by threatening criminal prosecution. If enacted, these proposals would seriously weaken the foundations of journalism and diminish the press’s watchdog role over government, a crucial role in any democracy.

We respectfully remind you that the government has a duty to support the right to freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by numerous international conventions, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers.”

We respectfully call on you to take all possible steps to ensure that the Rajasthani government withdraws its proposals, which would seriously damage India’s international reputation. We urge you to ensure that all Indian states fully respect their obligations to freedom of expression.

We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,


Michael Golden
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


David Callaway
World Editors Forum


WAN-IFRA is the global organization for the world’s newspapers and news publishers, with formal representative status at the United Nations, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. The organization groups 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.



Mrs. Vasudhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Jaipur, India.
Smt.Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister for Information and Broadcasting, New Delhi, India. Email:


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Andrew Heslop


2017-10-31 10:24

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...