Washington, D.C., July 12, 2019–Hyderabad police should immediately release journalist Revathi Pogadadanda, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Pogadadanda, the founder and former CEO of independent news channel Mojo TV, was forcibly taken to a police station this morning, according to news reports.
According to news reports, the case stemmed from a guest on a Mojo TV debate show in January who filed a complaint with police in which he claimed that he had been insulted.
“Arresting a journalist without charge or warrant because an individual claims they were insulted is absurd,” said Steven Butler, CPJ Asia program coordinator. “Revathi Pogadadanda should be released immediately.”
In a series of tweets sent from her home, Pogadadanda said that police had arrived without a warrant to arrest her and tried to seize her phone. She said the arrest stemmed from a January television broadcast and allegations under the Prevention of Atrocities Act.
Assistant Police Commissioner K Srinivasa Rao of the Banjara Hills police station in Hyderabad told online news website The News Minute that Pogadadanda was not cooperating with a police investigation and had not responded to notices to appear at the police station. Rao confirmed to CPJ by text message that Pogadadanda was arrested and is in custody.
Pogadadanda’s husband, Chaitanya Dantuluri, told The News Minute that Pogadadanda had tried repeatedly to arrange to meet the police over the issue.
CPJ previously documented an incident in January in which Mojo TV filed a complaint against police behavior when a Mojo TV crew was assaulted at a demonstration.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The fifth paragraph was updated to reflect Rao’s response to CPJ’s request for comment.