On Wednesday, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Twitter, released a press statement expressing its shock over the use of NSO Group-developed Pegasus, a hacking software, on journalists as well as civil society activists, businesspersons, and politicians have allegedly done by government agencies.
EGI is shocked by the media reports on the wide spread surveillance, allegedly mounted by government agencies, on journalists, civil society activists, businessmen and politicians, using a hacking software known as #Pegasus, created and developed by the Israeli company NSO. pic.twitter.com/I4M9pOsPTt
— Editors Guild of India (@IndEditorsGuild) July 21, 2021
The press statement was signed by EGI’s President Seema Mustafa, General Secretary Sanjay Kapoor, and Ananth Nath, who is a Treasurer.
It has been stated that the reports published worldwide over the last few days by a consortium of 17 publications, had pointed towards surveillance by multiple governments all over the world.
The statement added, “Since NSO claims that it only sells this software to governments clients vetted by the Government of Israel, it deepens suspicion of involvement of Indian government agencies in snooping on its own citizens.”
Moreover, it has referred to the surveillance against a large number of journalists and civil society activists as ‘disturbing’, calling it a brazen and unconstitutional attack on freedom of speech and press.
“This act of snooping essentially conveys that journalism and political dissent are now equated with ‘terror’, it continued. The EGI questioned if a constitutional democracy could survive when governments make no efforts in protecting freedom of speech and permits “surveillance with such impunity.”
The EGI has demanded an urgent and independent inquiry into “these snooping charges” under the aegis of the Supreme Court of India alongside the inclusion of journalists as well as civil society activists in the inquiry committee to ensure an independent investigation.