Indian Journalists Union demands release of Muhammad Zubair

The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has condemned in the strongest of terms the arrest of Muhammad Zubair, co-founder of fact checking website AltNews.
His arrest by the Delhi police smacks of malafide as it comes for his post in 2018, claimed by a Twitter handle to be ‘hurting religious sentiments’, said a press release by IJU. The Union called for his immediate release as the action is clearly intended not only to intimidate and harass Zubair but also hit out at AltNews, which is doing yeoman service in checking fake news and disinformation. According to reports, Zubair was called in for questioning on Monday in a 2020 case following a complainant going by Twitter name Hanuman Bhakt, which has only 400 followers and for a post four years ago. In a statement, IJU President and former member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and Vice President of International Federation of Journalists, Sabina Inderjit said the arrest of Zubair is a yet another blatant attack on press freedom and a continuation of witch-hunting by the government to silence independent media and critics.
The IJU also noted that it was ironic that the action on Zubair came the same day as Prime Minister Modi addressed the G7 meet and was a signatory to the pact which seeks to improve the resilience of democratic societies, protect press freedom and free speech online and offline.
The IJU said that so far as the media is concerned there is an undeclared state of emergency in the State as ruling dispensations are clamping down on voices speaking truth to power. The IJU demanded that the fourth estate be allowed to do its job and Zubair be released immediately else the world’s largest democracy will further go down in world ranking.