India editors urge gov to tone down libel laws

The Editors’ Guild, one of the most powerful media organizations in the country, today approached the Information and Broadcasting ministry to seek sweeping reforms in the country’s defamation laws.

The guild urged the government to repeal provisions of the current defamation rules under which editors of newspapers and TV channels may be put in jail for defamation.

“Their point was that the laws are very draconian,” pointed out a senior ministry official present in the meeting. “We have told them to present us with a memorandum to be forwarded to the law ministry,” he added.

According to sources, the delegation, which included former Business Standard Editor and Guild President TN Ninan, CNN IBN Editor Rajdeep Sardesai, and former Indian Express (Delhi) Editor Coomi Kapoor, expressed concern over the current libel laws.

The ministry official said it was not within his ministry’s power to change the libel provisions of the Indian Penal Code.