Protests after Indian reporter probed over school meal expose – World

The authorities' attempt to accuse an Indian journalist who exposed the poor quality of the meals served at a government school triggered protests on Tuesday for fear that the press freedom in the country would worsen.

Pawan Jaiswal made national headlines after reporting that poor elementary students in a district in the state of Uttar Pradesh were fed bread with salt instead of a mandatory healthy meal.

The report generated widespread criticism of the local government controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who responded by launching a criminal investigation against Jaiswal.

"It's a cruel and classic case of shooting the messenger," the Editors Guild of India said in a statement on Monday.

"It is surprising that instead of taking measures to fix what is wrong on the ground, the government has filed criminal cases against the journalist."

Dozens of journalists shouted slogans in front of the district office on Tuesday, demanding that Jaiswal's investigation be suspended.

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Journalists in India have complained about the deterioration of media freedoms and vicious online attacks in recent years in the world's largest democracy.

Frequently, politicians of all parties have implemented laws that seek to quell the criticisms of social networks.

Earlier this year, an activist of the ruling party was arrested for publishing a meme in the main opposition minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee. He was later released on bail by the Supreme Court.

A journalist in the northeast of the state of Manipur was jailed last year for allegedly criticizing the prime minister of the state of BJP and Modi.



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