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India: Press Freedom

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 31246, tabled on 5 July 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the arrest of journalist Mohammed Zubair, what steps her Department plans to take to help protect the freedom and safety of religious minority journalists in India.

Answered on

12 July 2022

We are aware of the arrest of Mohammed Zubair, a journalist and the co-founder of Alt News, and concerns around media freedom in India. The British High Commission in New Delhi continues to follow these events closely, while recognising that the Indian judicial system is a matter for the Government of India. The UK Government remains committed to media freedom, and to championing democracy and human rights around the world. We engage with India on a range of human rights matters, including media freedom and freedom of religion or belief, and where we have concerns, we raise them directly with the Government of India, including at Ministerial level.

We work closely with and regularly engage India's vibrant media, which promotes lively debate across the political spectrum, and do this through the annual South Asia Journalism Fellowship Programme under our flagship Chevening brand which includes over 60 Indian alumni. In 2021, we supported the Thomson Reuters Foundation in running workshops for journalists reporting on issues such as human trafficking and child labour. On 5 May 2021, the then-Foreign Secretary led a discussion with G7 members and guest states, including India, on further multilateral coordination to promote media freedom. He stressed to all states the importance of media freedom and combatting the use of arbitrary detention and encouraged support for UNESCO's Global Media Defence Fund.