‘Notice an attack on freedom of press and expression’

Chennai, April 8 (IANS) The legal notice served to various media outlets by a member of the Tablighi Jamaat is nothing but an attack on the freedom of press and expression, an official of Chennai Press Club said on Wednesday.

A similar view was expressed by a senior official of the Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“Freedom of press cannot be threatened in any manner — whether through state or by other bodies. Nobody has the right to do that. The Chennai Press Club strongly condemns the legal notice to several media outlets demanding apology and compensation,” Bharathi Thamizhan, Joint Secretary, Chennai Press Club, told IANS
India’s largest independent news agency, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), on Wednesday sent a legal notice to a member of the Tablighi Jamaat after he attempted to selectively harass and criminally intimidate the agency’s media subscribers for running an IANS exclusive report on the Islamic missionary’s dubious background on their digital editions.
“This is clearly an attack on freedom of press and freedom of expression. Media reports are based on information and facts from various sources. Journalists should not be harassed for doing this job,” said K.T. Raghavan, Secretary of BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit.
He also termed as “strange” the demand of some Muslim organisations that media should not mention Tablighi Jamaat’s name in their reports while reporting about the number of Covid-19 patients in the country.
Bangalore resident and a self-proclaimed member of Tablighi Jamaat, Hafeezulla Khan’s lawyer had sent a legal notice to IANS subscribers for carrying the report “Tablighi Jamaat shares links with terror outfits.”
The notice had called the report “defamatory”, “designed to cause maximum damage to the reputation” of Tablighi Jamaat and promote “enmity and hatred towards all its members” by “putting them at the risk of violence”.
The Jamaat lawyer sought an apology and Rs one crore as compensation for “horrible mental agony” the report has caused Khan.
The Tablighi member also threatened to file a separate criminal case for criminal defamation against these media entities.