December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

India

India March 10, 2006

H.E. Abdul Kalam
President
Republic of India
Fax: (011.91.11) 301-7290

H.E. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister
Republic of India
Fax: (011.91.11) 301-6857
 

Your Excellencies:
 

We write to protest your government’s arrest of Alok Tomar, editor of the Hindi-language magazine, Shabdarth, after a cartoon of the prophet appeared in the magazine. New Delhi police also are reported to have confiscated several hundred copies of the magazine and ordered police in other states to seize all copies of the magazine, too.
 

This case is especially dismaying since the cartoon, one of those originally published in Denmark, was re-printed to illustrate an article that criticized the publication of the drawings and argued that all media should refrain from criticizing religious practices. To the best of our knowledge, no charges have been filed against Tomar, but at last report, he was still being held in jail.
 

Your Excellencies, this controversy has been provocative in its origins, mischievous in its exploitation and tragic in its consequences. We hope it may subside without further damage. But it would be harmful indeed if the episode served to justify suppression of the basic human right of freedom of expression. We hope you will call for moderation and non-violence in protesting the cartoons, but we also urge you to underscore the value of a free exchange of views.
 

Thank you for your attention. We would appreciate a reply.
 

Respectfully yours,
Larry Martz
Kevin McDermott
Co-chairmen, Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

 

H.E. Abdul Kalam

President

Office of the President

Rashtrapti Bhavan

New Delhi 11004

Republic of India

Fax: (011.91.11) 301-7290

 

 

H.E. Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister

Office of the Prime Minister

152 South Block

New Delhi 110011

Republic of India

Fax: (011.91.11) 301-6857

 

 

Ronen Sen

Ambassador of India to the U.S.

Embassy of the Republic of India

2107 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington , DC 20008

Fax: (202) 483-3972

 

 

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of India

to the United Nations

235 East 45 th Street

New York , NY 10017

Fax: (212) 490-9656

 

 

David C. Mulford

U.S. Ambassador to India

Embassy of the United States of America

Shanti Path, Chanakaya Puri

New Delhi 110021

India

Fax: (011.91.11) 241-9017