New Delhi, July 19: The Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC) Monday demanded an independent probe into the use of Pegasus spyware for alleged snooping on journalists.
In a series of posts on the microblogging site Twitter, the journalist body said it is “unfortunate” that in a democracy like India, journalists have to go through “something like this” in the course of their work.
“IWPC strongly condemns the spying on the phones of 40 Indian journalists,” it tweeted.
Citing media reports, the IWPC noted the Israeli software allegedly used for snooping is sold only to the governments.
“And, as the government has come out with a denial, we demand an independent inquiry in the whole matter,” it said.
The IWPC said independent journalism is one of the “most important tools” to uphold the rights that the Constitution has vested into the citizens of this country.
“It is unfortunate that in a democracy like India, journalists have to go through something like this in the course of their work,” the journalist body said, adding “under no circumstances should the independence of media be compromised”.
BJP says not a shred of evidence to link it or govt with Pegasus story
The BJP on Monday hit out at the Congress over its attack on the central government over the Pegasus snooping row, and claimed that there is not a “shred of evidence” to link either the ruling party or the Modi dispensation with the matter.
Addressing a press conference, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad also questioned the credentials of those behind the story, alleging that The Wire, the news portal which broke it in India, had been earlier associated with stories which have been found to be “incorrect” while Amnesty International has a declared “anti-India” agenda in many ways.
Those who broke the story themselves said that the presence of a particular number in the database does not confirm that it is infected with Pegasus, he said while questioning the timing of the story coming as it did a day before Parliament’s Monsoon session began on Monday.
He also brushed aside a question on the Congress’ demands for Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation and probe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and accused the opposition party of hitting a “new low” in making baseless allegations in a manner that was bereft of any political propriety.
With the Congress “shrinking and losing”, the entire row is timed to disrupt Parliament and build a baseless agenda, he said.
Prasad said, “The BJP strongly refutes and condemns the baseless and bereft of political propriety comments levelled by Congress against the BJP. This is a new low in the political discourse of a party that has ruled India for over 50 years.”
He added, “Our IT Minister confirmed today that for lawful interceptions of electronic communication can only be made as per relevant rules under provisions of Sec 5(2) of Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 & Sec 69 of Information Technology Act 2000. Any form of illegal surveillance isn’t possible with checks & balances in our laws & robust institutions,” he said. (PTI)