Tuesday, October 23, 2012


The DUJ welcomes the Supreme Court’s granting of bail to journalist Syed Mohammad Ahmad Kazmi, after seven months in prison. Kazmi, a 50-year-old scribe, was working for an Iranian news agency in Delhi and also for the state-run Doordarshan, He is accused of providing information leading to an attack on an Israeli diplomat. He has denied the charges against him.In the last three days the DUJ office bearers and members including Sujata Madhok, S.K. Pande, Jal Khambata, Iftikhar Gilani, Javed Naqvi, John  Cherian, Seema Mustafa met Kazmi's family at their home and felicitated them. General Secretary S.K. Pande and some journalists also went to Tihar Jail to witness Kazmi’s late evening release and congratulate him. A few hundred people from Kazmi’s village, community, neighbourhood and extended family were present at the jail to receive him. Kazmi was driven home in a huge motorcade.Members of the Jamia Teachers Solidarity Group were also present at the jail to witness the release.Subsequently DUJ members and the Jamia Teachers Solidarity Group led by Manisha Sethi as well as veteran journalists including Syed Naqvi, as well as IWPC General Secretary T.K. Rajalakshmi, the Kazmi family and their lawyer Mehmood Pracha met at the Press Club of India to discuss the Kazmi case, its coverage by the media and the legal implications for press freedom and human rights issues.While hailing the Supreme Court verdict the DUJ has decided to work jointly with secular groups and individuals on common issues of solidarity with Kazmi. DUJ called for a wide united front to look into all aspects of the Kazmi case and its ramifications for journalists at large. They also called upon the media to ensure that all sides of the case are reported in public interest.The DUJ believes that journalists have to maintain all sorts of contacts and sources for their stories. Such connections for professional purposes should not be misconstrued as active collusion or connivance in dubious activities including crime. The DUJ fears that Kazmi may have been unwittingly caught up in an inter-country political and diplomatic crisis of this nature. DUJ follows the Constitutional and legal principle that a person must be treated as innocent until and unless convicted as guilty. We advise our members, particularly those on the crime and legal beats, to bear this dictum in mind while filing their reports and stories. We should be wary of stories planted by police and by vested interests. Sensationalism is an easy trap to fall into but we must remember that we are dealing with the lives and reputations of people.    
Kazmi was arrested on March 6 by the Special Cell of Delhi Police on thecharge of helping Iranian agents to conduct a reconnaissance of the area around the Israeli embassy in his car. A motorcyclist, allegedly Iranian, had planted a bomb on a car of the Israeli embassy on February 13, causing injuries to the occupants including the wife of the Israeli Defence Attache. Police named four Iranians in the charge-sheet filed belatedly last month. The Iranians, the police say, fled India after the attack.Israel had blamed Iran for the attack but Tehran denied any involvement. The arrest of Kazmi came allegedly under foreign pressure on the government.The DUJ advises its members to exercise great caution and ensure unbiased and balanced reportage of such cases in the future.

Sujata Madhok                        S.K. Pande
President                                General Secretary 

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