In a recent development, the Editors Guild of India (EGI), while expressing concern, condemned the recent arrest of writer and two editors of Manipur based news portal ‘The Frontier Manipur’ under the Indian Penal Code applicable to sedition and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) saying that “it was a brazen violation of every constitutional safeguard given for freedom of speech.”
According to an official statement, “EGI believes that till the police is not nuanced in fundamental rights and various Supreme Court judgments on the imperative to protect freedom, no media organisation is safe from the irrational use of these laws.”
It reiterated that the use of such draconian laws against journalists were prominent in the past as well. Journalists holding opinions contrary to the dominant narrative have been subjected to retaliation by the administration. In Manipur itself journalists have been targeted and arrested under these laws for doing little more than posting critical comments on Facebook.
In view of the same, EGI has demanded the immediate release of the editors and withdrawal of these cases that pose a threat to free expression, and to democracy itself.
On Sunday, Editor in Chief Sadokpam Diren, Executive Editor Paojel Chaoba and the writer of the reportedly offending article M.Joy Luwang under these draconian anti-terror laws for their analysis of the politics of Manipur state.
The duo were charged for the article “Revolutionary journey in a mess” published on January 8 under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 505(b) (causing alarm to induce offence against the state), and 34 (common intention), as well as the UAPA’s Section 39 (supporting terror organisation).