In the latest battle over freedom of expression in India, journalists have marched on the country's Supreme Court for protection from violent nationalist groups backing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.

Zee News was there. We covered it extensively. A lot of people termed this whole thing as 'freedom of expression' but our point of view was if you counter Indian foreign policy on Kashmir and if you start supporting the terrorists this was not acceptable.

Sudhir Chaudhary, editor, Zee News

Some 800 journalists presented a petition to the Supreme Court in New Delhi this week demanding protection as well as an investigation into recent attacks against reporters. 

The protest rally came after Kanhaiya Kumar, a PhD student at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, was arrested on sedition charges for organising a rally marking the anniversary of the execution of a Muslim Kashmiri leader.

A student faction linked to Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party accused Kumar of using anti-Indian slogans during the demonstration.

Journalists reporting the court case were called "traitors" and "terrorists", while being attacked in broad daylight despite the presence of police throughout the complex.

In what many journalists and writers see as a climate of increasing oppression, news outlets in the world's largest democracy are struggling to find a way to cover stories that touch on the nationalism movement and those who oppose it.

Talking us through the story are Rajdeep Sardesai, consulting editor at India Today Group; Sudhir Chaudhary, editor at Zee News; Hartosh Singh Bal, political editor at Caravan Magazine; and Madhu Kishwar, the author of Modi, Muslims and Media.

Source: Al Jazeera