The Broadcast Editors AssociationÂ (BEA) has condemned the FIR against the Tribune reporter who broke the story about Aadhaar data leaks and termed it as an attack on free speech.Â
In a statement, the BEA demanded immediate withdrawal of the police case against journalist Rachna Khaira, who has been charged under various sections of the IPC including forgery and cheating.Â
"Such FIRs against journalists exposing systemic flaws is a spiteful kick in the teeth of Indian democracy and the right to free speech and expression," BEA said. "The FIR against The Tribune's Rachna Khaira must be withdrawn immediately."Â
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is rather expected to take media investigations into data leaks positively. With the Supreme Court declaring privacy a fundamental right, measures must be strengthened to protect Aadhaar data. "Shooting the messenger is no solution. It's a toxic trend, which must stop forthwith," the BEA noted.