EDITORS GUILD OF INDIA : Letter on Defamation

The Editors Guild of India expresses deep disquiet over the continued misuse of the law that treats defamation as a criminal offence. The Guild is concerned that this provision in the Indian Penal Code is being employed by many litigants to intimidate journalists writing on matters of public interests and as a coercive tool to dissuade and even threaten the media from carrying out its legitimate responsibilities. The Guild recognises the right of an aggrieved individual to approach a court of law to seek relief against defamation. But the Guild maintains that defamation should be treated as a civil offence and respectfully disagrees with the Supreme Court’s recent judgment upholding the criminality of defamation. The Guild appeals to the country’s highest court of justice to review its decision so as to prevent the continued misuse of such a tyrannical provision of law. It also requests both the Central and State Governments to have the law suitably amended to decriminalise defamation.

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