Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lokayukta’s gag order to media: Don’t publish proceedings news

In a kind of gag order prohibiting media from publishing news about any of its proceedings, the Gujarat Lokayukta has declared that publishing or broadcasting any such news amounts to imprisonment for up to two years and fine under the provisions of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act.  The office of the Gujarat Lokayukta, D P Buch, sent a letter in this regard to media houses on Monday, through his registrar  B D Soni.
“As per the provisions of Section 10(2) of Gujarat Lokayukta, there is a prohibition on publicity of any proceedings before the Lokayukta,” the letter reads.
Explaining the Section 10(2) and 10(7) of the Gujarat Lokayukta Act, the letter further states that revealing the identity of any public servant against whom the complaint is made before, during and after the proceedings before the Lokayukta attracts the punitive provisions.
The letter also stated that it had come to the Lokayukta’s knowledge that due to the ignorance about the said legal provisions, newspapers had been publishing news about Lokayukta’s proceedings.  He further asked the newspapers to be careful and not to publish any news on the proceedings pending before the Lokayukta.
“It has come to our notice that news are being published about proceedings before the Lokayukta (despite the prohibitory legal provisions). So, to be on a safer side, we thought it fit to draw the attention of newspapers towards the legal provisions. So that, in future, they do not plead ignorance of the said provision,” said Gujarat Lokayukta D P Buch.

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