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Attempt to gag press of Tripura govt prevented in high court

Freedom of the press is a valuable fundamental right and relates to the right of the people of excess to information. Such rights cannot be lightly curtailed.

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Agartala: In a significant move High Court of Tripura while hearing the case of alleged highhandedness of the then district magistrate of West Tripura district Dr Sailesh Kr Yadav has turned down the request of the state government to prevent media from publishing the news of court proceedings.

When the petitioners’ advocates highlighted the apparent weakness of the state government towards the accused district magistrate in taking action and the judges were seeking clarification from the state, advocate general Siddhartha Shankar Dey requested the High Court to prevent publication of any news in relation to the proceedings of the case.

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Turning down the request, judges said, “We are not inclined to issue any such general gag order.

Freedom of the press is a valuable fundamental right and relates to the right of the people of excess to information. Such rights cannot be lightly curtailed. We, however, assure If any instance of any publication which is either contemptuous or is defamatory is brought to our notice, the same can always be dealt with on case to case basis.”

Advocate General has apprehended that certain quarters may deliberately sensationalise the issue but the court did agree with and stated, “No amount of sensationalisation of the issue from any quarter would hamper our judgment. We expect the media to be responsible and publish the news as truthfully as the events have taken place,”

The Court also observed that the District Magistrate has made public statements on more occasions and said, “We would request him not to go public with respect to the said incident till further orders.”

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