IJC condemns NIA summon of editor

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IMPHAL, January 24: The India Journalist Union (IJU) has strongly condemned the summoning of the editor Naharolgee Thoudang by the National Investigating Agency (NIA), Guwahati.

Addressing a media conference at the Manipur Press Club, the All Manipur Working Journalists Union, Manipur president Wangkhemcha Shyamjai read out a statement of the IJU condemning the summoning of the editor by the NIA.

Meanwhile, the AMWJU president had said that the PCI convenor Kosuri Amarnath asked the editor  to not appear before NIA, Guwahati and reply that the convenor himself had asked the editor against making the appearance.

The editor has been summoned at the NIA camp office near the Imphal Police Station on January 24 at 11 am.

The IJU statement has also said that the NIA had summoned him earlier also to divulge the source of a certain news relating to underground groups.

Such summoning of a journalist for his/her coverage of news of certain section is clear intervention of freedom of media which is derived from freedom of expression enshrined in Constitution, said the statement read out by the All Manipur Working Journalists Union, Manipur president Wangkhemcha Shyamjai.

The statement further read, “The IJU appealed to the Press Council of India (PCI) to immediately intervene in the matter.”

It said in this regard IJU lodge a complaint with the PCI earlier also when one deputy superintendent of police officiating under NIA summoned the editor asking him to produce certain papers and information relating to the UG groups.

It further appealed to the PCI to act for upholding “Freedom of Media” for which PCI was constituted, said the statement from secretary, IJU, Gertartha Pathak.

The International Federation of Journalist (IFJ) has said police investigators inquiring into the source of a picture published in by the daily in 2010 are intruding into press freedom, the IFJ warned.

Reports from AMWJU, a unit of the IFJ-affiliated IJU indicated that the editor of Naharogee Thoudang published recently received a communication dated August 8 from NIA, demanding to hand over the original print or digital image of a picture published in the daily in 2010, it said.

The NIA under India`s Union Government, tasked specifically with investigating terrorism cases, has also asked the editor to name the photographer involved in capturing the image of the “Raising Day” of a banned militant outfit, the Peoples` Liberation Army (PLA), it said.

The IFJ has in past years had occasion to raise a number of concerns about the safety and security of journalists in Manipur, it said while adding that Manipur has always been challenging terrain for the practice of journalism and security officials are often known to issue explicit threats that media seen to be lending “direct or indirect” support to any of the banned militant groups would be liable for summary action, including seizure and forfeiture.

At the same time, the militant groups exert pressures through numerous channels to seek publicity for particular points of view and deny others any manner of a hearing, it further condemned.

“We call on the investigating agency in India to reconsider and rescind its order to the Imphal newspaper, seeking it to identify the source of a news photograph.”

“By the same criterion, Manipur`s media must not be prevented from reporting on these organisations in a manner that is objective and dispassionate and does not amount to an advocacy of their ends or means”.

Speaking to media persons at the press conference president, AMWJU, Wangkhemcha Shyamjai also expressed unhappiness over the matter.

He further added that PCI, Assam Journalist Union, IJU, IFJ will always stand for the AMWJU.

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