On the arrest of Alt News co-founder Mohamed Zubair, the German Foreign Ministry has taken a jibe at India’s democracy. The question was asked on the arrest of Mohammad Zubair at the German Foreign Ministry’s press conference on Wednesday.
The German Foreign Ministry said in response, “India calls itself the largest democracy in the world. In such a situation, democratic values such as freedom of expression and press can be expected from him. Necessary space should be given to the press. We are committed to freedom of expression. We support freedom of the press around the world. This is something which is of great importance. And this applies in India as well. Independent reporting is vital to any society. The ban on journalism is a matter of concern. Journalists cannot be put in jail for speaking and writing.
The German Foreign Ministry said, “We have information about that arrest in India. Our Embassy in New Delhi is watching this. We are also in touch with EU on this matter. The EU has a dialogue with India on human rights. Therein lies the freedom of expression and the press.
A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry was asked by Richard Walker, the editor-in-chief of the broadcaster DW, that Germany remains vocal about freedom of the press and opposes the arrest of journalists anywhere. But why is there a difference in this matter with respect to India? Why is Germany not taking a tough stand on India?
On this, the German Foreign Ministry said, “I would not say that did not criticize at the time. I have always been vocal about freedom of expression and the press.
PM Modi had advocated democratic values in Germany
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had attended the G-7 meeting in Germany on 26 and 27 June last month as a special guest. Apart from India, Indonesia, Argentina, South Africa and Senegal were also invited as special guests.
These five countries signed the ‘2022 Resilient Democracies Statement’ on June 27 with the G-7 countries. Under this, it has been said to protect diversity and freedom in civil society, to protect freedom of expression, including online and offline ideas.
The four-page statement said, “We are committed to strengthening democracy together with Germany, Argentina, Canada, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Senegal, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.” Huh. We will defend democracy and fight together against violence apart from exploitation. Will protect democratic values at the global level. We will work together to defend public debate, media freedom and pluralism, free flow and transparency of information online and offline.
PM Modi at G-7 meeting in Germany
On the same day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expressing his commitment to work with the G-7 countries on these democratic values, Mohammad Zubair, the co-founder of the fact checker website Alt News, was arrested by the Delhi Police. A Twitter user complained about a 2018 tweet by Mohammad Zubair. He has accused Mohammad Zubair of hurting religious sentiments. Delhi Police has arrested Zubair on this basis.
The arrest of Mohammad Zubair is also being linked to the controversial remarks of the then BJP national spokesperson Nupur Sharma on Prophet Mohammad. Mohammad Zubair had raised the issue of Nupur Sharma’s controversial remarks loudly on social media.
After this, many Islamic countries had issued statements against India and there was a demand for action against Nupur Sharma. Later BJP suspended Sharma from the party. An FIR has been registered against Nupur Sharma in many states but she has not been arrested yet. On the other hand, the Delhi Police arrested Mohammad Zubair on the complaint of a Twitter user. Later, many more charges were leveled against him. These include the matter of receiving donations from abroad.
PM Modi did not take questions of journalists in Europe tour
In the first week of May, Prime Minister Modi went on a tour of Europe. Criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had started for not taking questions from the media during his Europe tour and India’s human rights record.
It has been going on since late 2015 that the Prime Minister only issues joint statements with his counterparts without taking questions from journalists. However, this time Richard Walker, Chief International Editor of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, raised this issue in front of everyone through a tweet regarding Modi’s visit to Germany.
He wrote, “Modi and Schultz are about to address the press in Berlin. They will announce 14 agreements between the two governments. They will not take a single question on the request of the Indian side.”
Walker had also underlined India’s slipping eight places in the matter of press freedom. Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) ranked India 150th out of 180 countries in terms of press freedom. Last year India was ranked 142nd.
In the latest report released by ‘Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF), India has slipped from 142nd place to 150th place in terms of freedom of press.
France’s news website France 24 wrote about PM Modi’s visit to Europe, “PM Modi met Chancellor Olaf Schultz on May 4, but after bilateral agreements, the German Chancellor did not give the press a chance to question the rules. . In Germany too, the decision to not take questions from journalists was taken on the request of the Indian delegation. The newspaper had made this claim quoting German officials.
UN’s objection and India’s response to the arrest of Mohammad Zubair
On June 29, the United Nations also protested the arrest of Mohammad Zubair and said that he cannot be put in jail for what the journalist writes, what he tweets and what he says.
UN chief Antonio Guterres’ spokesman said journalists could not be harassed for speaking and writing.
The UN chief’s spokesman had said, “I believe that in any corner of the world it is important that people have the freedom to speak freely, journalists have the freedom to do their work freely. No one should be intimidated or harassed for this.
India’s Foreign Ministry had said about the UN’s remarks on Mohammad Zubair that it is baseless and interference in India’s independent judiciary. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said that in India, any action is taken only through the judicial process.