Shooting The Messenger In Aadhaar Breach Case? Reality Check

  • Shooting The Messenger In Aadhaar Breach Case? Reality Check

Shooting The Messenger In Aadhaar Breach Case? Reality Check

There have been multiple allegations in the past of data security breaches in the programme.

On January 4, the newspaper had published a report saying racketeers were selling access to Aadhaar data for Rs 500, which would enable buyers to open fake bank accounts or get mobile connections issued in someone else's name.

India a year ago slipped three places to 136th in the World Press Freedom Index of 180 nations, compiled by Reporters Without Borders.

The Delhi Police registered the FIR on a UIDAI official's complaint.

"We at The Tribune believe that our stories were in the nature of a legitimate journalistic exercise", it said.

Broadcast Editors Association on Sunday launched a scathing attack against the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) for lodging an FIR against The Tribune and its journalist Rachna Khaira for reporting mass scale sale of Aadhaar data.

"Our story was in response to a very genuine concern among the citizens on a matter of great public interest", the news paper said in the statement. "However, UIDAIs act of filing an FIR with full details of the incident should not be viewed as UIDAI targeting the media or the whistle-blowers or "shooting the messenger", the Aadhaar-issuing body said in a statement.

While Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad argued that the FIR was "against unknown" persons, the Congress demanded its withdrawal and alleged that the "minister does not seem to have read the FIR or may be his reading of the FIR is extremely selective and he chooses to skip over the names".

Police sources clarified on Sunday night that those named in the complaint were not being seen as accused but would be questioned. This isn't the first time an FIR has been registered against a journalist or an individual for analysing loopholes in the Aadhaar system - a topic of debate that began when the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government introduced the UIDAI.

"Such FIRs against journalists exposing systemic flaws is a spiteful kick in the teeth of Indian democracy and the right to free speech and expression", BEA said.

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has filed a case against newspaper The Tribune and journalist Rachna Khaira over a news report that revealed how people could illegally access demographic data of individuals from UIDAI, media reports said.

These groups targeted over three lakh village-level enterprise operators hired by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) under the Common Service Centres Scheme (CSCS) across India, offering them access to UIDAI data.