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Environmental journalist faces harassment from Indian multinational corporation for critical article

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate Indian Journalists Union (IJU) condemn an attempt to harass Keya Acharya, a well-known environmental journalist, by Karuturi Global Limited (KGL) for a critical article.

According to IJU, Acharya has been served a legal notice for defamation demanding a compensation of USD 16.4 million by Ramakrishna Karuturi, the founder and managing director of KGL for an article she wrote for Inter Press Service (IPS). The article was about the impact of the Indian rose export industry that also detailed the company's legal, financial, tax, labour and land problems in its operation in Kenya and Ethiopia.

It's notable that KGL is a publicly traded company on the Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange in India having public shareholders.

The IJU said: "We condemn the harassment of journalists. Lawsuits such as these are strategic lawsuits against public participation, or libel suits from large corporations to journalists intended to intimidate and silence criticism and dissent."

The IFJ said: "The serving of the legal notice from a multinational company demanding such a huge compensation is clearly an attempt to intimidate journalists. We condemn this harassment and urge KGL to reconsider its action or face wider condemnation from the public for this act of aggression on the freedom of the press."

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