New Delhi, 1st June, The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) strongly protests against the notice issued by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to some local newspapers published from Imphal, Manipur seeking them to produce the photo copy of the press statement with its e-mails header, sent by the CorCom, an underground outfit, claiming that it captured six weapons from the security forces during Joupi Encounter. In an order signed by an Inspector, NIA said the production of the press statement photo copy with e-mail header was necessary or desirable for the purpose its investigation.
The CorCom, a coordinating body of some underground outfits in Manipur, in a statement sent to the newspaper offices, claimed responsibility for the attack on a convoy of Assam Rifles at Joupi in Chandel district on 22 May in which six jawans were killed and their weapons were taken away. The news was carried by the local and national media, both print and electronic prominently. The Government ordered an inquiry by the NIA into the incident.
In a statement issued here on Wednesday, S N Sinha, President, Amar Devulapalli, Secretary-General of the Indian Journalists Union (IJU) and Press Council of India (PCI) member K Amarnath said the notice of the NIA to produce source of news violated the freedom of the press guaranteed in the constitution.
“We strongly feel that the action of the NIA is gross interference in free and independent functioning of the media in volatile and insurgency affected state of Manipur. It is not acceptable and the central probe agency should immediately withdraw the order issued to the local media editors.”
The IJU leaders urged upon the Press Council of India (PCI) to take suo motu cognizance of the notice of the NIA to the Editors of Manipur media and suitable action to defend the freedom of the press in the sensitive state of Manipur.