High Court Rules Media Platforms Cannot Be Used As Tools for Personal Gain; Bail Denied to Individual Criticizing PM and CM

In a landmark judgment, the Allahabad High Court has denied bail to an individual accused of making derogatory comments and hate speech against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on internet media platforms. The accused, identified as Amit Maurya, faced charges for impersonating a press reporter and delivering false reports. This ruling was delivered by Justice Manju Rani Chauhan in a criminal case registered at the Lalpur police station in Varanasi.

The court sternly advised journalists and publishers, emphasizing that while it is appropriate to expose corrupt individuals with transparency and accountability, using media platforms for personal gain or extortion is unacceptable. Such misuse undermines the credibility of journalism and erodes public trust. The court highlighted the importance of providing accurate and factual information.

The judgment underscored that no one is entitled to use media platforms as a tool for personal agendas. Maintaining the democratic fabric of society necessitates accountability. Journalists are urged to adhere to ethical standards, as maintaining public trust in journalism is foundational to a democratic governance system.

The court took a firm stance against indecent remarks made on internet media against the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister. However, it acknowledged the right to dissent and critique government actions, which is integral to a robust governance system. The expression of dissent must be dignified and constructive, as derogatory language fails to serve any constructive purpose. Criticism should embody transparency and public participation, marked by responsibility and decorum. Resorting to character assassination diverts from the main objective, and hostile dialogue only escalates bitterness.

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The court emphasized that constructive criticism of government policies and actions is essential in a democracy, but hate speech only generates strife, weakening the foundation of democracy. The right to dissent comes with responsibility, and adherence to standards is mandatory. In a pluralistic society, religious tolerance and harmony are crucial. Reporting should not offend religious sentiments.

Concluding the judgment, the court noted, “The petitioner failed to meet the standards of ethical values. Reporting on extortion as a means of leveraging power constitutes an abuse of power. Hence, the petitioner is not entitled to bail.”

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