The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has welcomed the release on bail of an Indian television reporter, who was jailed for over four months after documenting a large-scale assault on a group of young women in Karnataka.
Noting that it considers the pending criminal charges against Naveen Soorinje to be "baseless and retaliatory", CPJ called on authorities to drop them immediately.
"It is about time Naveen Soorinje was released from prison. It is an outrage that he was ever jailed at all for reporting on violence against women, an issue that has put India in the news worldwide in recent months," CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney said.
"Authorities should withdraw all charges against him immediately," he demanded.
Soorinje (28), a reporter for the Kannada-language news channel Kasturi Newz 24, walked free on Saturday following the Karnataka High Court's decision on March 18 to grant him bail.
He was arrested in connection with the alleged attack on youths in a homestay in Mangalore on July 28 last year.
Over 12 students, including girls, partying at a homestay on the outskirts of Mangalore were targeted by activists allegedly belonging to 'Hindu Jagarana
Vedike', who accused them of indulging in "immoral activities".