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Uninformed comments unhelpful: India responds to Germany's remark on AltNews co-founder's arrest

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New Delhi, July 07: Responding to the German foreign ministry's comments on fact-checker Mohammed Zubair's arrest, India on Thursday said that such comments are "unhelpful and should be avoided".

India's reaction came a day after a German foreign ministry official said journalists should not be "persecuted and imprisoned" for what they say and write while referring to police action against Zubair.

File photo of Mohammed Zubair

"In itself it's a domestic issue. Let me emphasise that there is a judicial process underway in this case and I don't think it would be appropriate for me, or anyone else, to comment on a case that is sub-judice," Bagchi said. "I think the independence of our judiciary is well recognised and uninformed comments are unhelpful and should be avoided," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

Bagchi was asked at a media briefing about the remarks by the German foreign ministry spokesperson. The German official said free reporting is beneficial to any society and restrictions are a cause for concern.

Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair moves SC for bail, hearing tomorrowAlt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair moves SC for bail, hearing tomorrow

"Journalists should not be persecuted and imprisoned for what they say and write. We are indeed aware of this specific case and our embassy in New Delhi is monitoring it very closely," the German foreign ministry spokesperson said.

He said the European Union has a human rights dialogue with India and the freedom of expression and freedom of the press are a focus of those discussions.

"India describes itself as the world's largest democracy. So one can expect democratic values like freedom of expression and freedom of the press to be given the necessary space there," the German spokesperson said. Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, was arrested late last month over an "objectionable tweet" he posted in 2018.

The video of the German foreign ministry spokesperson's comments was shared on Twitter by Richard Walker, chief international editor at Deutsche Welle.

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