Internet watchdog and a group of journalists launched a free online legal aid platform

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An internet watchdog and a group of journalists have launched a free online legal aid platform where media can seek advice, a second opinion on their legal strategy and a pre-publication review, while lawyers representing scribes can seek advice on technology-related matters.

The Delhi-based Digital Patrakar Defense Clinic (DPDC) with lawyers from the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF) is promoted by the Forum for Media Professionals.

Begun on September 5, the clinic’s brochure mentions the defamation lawsuit of the Anil Ambani group against Thread news portal for his reporting on the Rafale deal, and the arrest of Manipur journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem for a Facebook post challenging claims that cow droppings can cure Covid as examples of journalists they would like to defend.

“In recent years, India has slipped 20 places in the world press freedom rankings. Journalists are exposed to police violence, ambushes by political activists, reprisals from criminal groups and prosecution for sedition. We believe that India urgently needs innovative strategies employed by motivated and committed lawyers, experienced in handling a diverse range and skills including in criminal prosecutions, civil suits, physical violence, Internet shutdowns, website blocking and illegal surveillance. The Internet Freedom Foundation has many years of experience in these areas, ”clinic project manager Tanmay Singh told The Telegraph.

Lawyers Abhinav Sekhri and Sanjana Srikumar run the clinic with the support of professional colleagues Apar Gupta, Vrinda Bhandari, Anandita Mishra and Singh.

Singh said, “Our members are assisting Ipsa Shatakshi and Rupesh Kumar Singh, among other journalists, with cases relating to the use of (the) Pegasus (spyware) on their mobile phones before the Supreme Court. The DPDC has previously provided advice on matters relating to civil and criminal defamation.

The IFF is fighting several free speech and privacy cases, including internet shutdowns in Kashmir, WhatsApp’s privacy policy and repealed section 66A of the information technology law that continues to exist. to be used. Sekhri and Srikumar also represent environmental activist Disha Ravi who was arrested for a “toolbox” supporting the movement against the new agricultural regime of Narendra Modi’s government.

Journalists who need to see a lawyer for their work can fill out a form on internetfreedom.in and get a link for a personal online consultation with Sekhri or Srikumar. This month, four-hour sessions are scheduled.

The clinic is open to “all media workers and support staff, community media workers, cartoonists and citizen journalists”. Publications can also contact them for a clinical session for their employees.

“In order to effectively defend against legal threats related to their reporting, journalists must be aware of their rights under the Indian Constitution, including their right to freedom of speech and expression. In the current climate, journalists must also have close and direct communication with their legal team in order to protect themselves from possible legal action, ”added Tanmay.


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