Immediately withdraw FIR against EGI: PCI demands

Imphal: Press Club of India (PCI) has strongly condemned lodging of filing a police case against three members of a fact finding committee of the Editors Guild of India and its president on the media coverage of the ethnic clashes and violence in Manipur.

The FIR was filed at Imphal Police station on Sunday, under Section 153 A and 120 B of IPC.

They were charged of promoting enmity between different groups, using as true such declaration il knowing it to be false, injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class, uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person, statements conducing to public mischief, statements conducing to public mischief which makes publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause or likely to cause fear or alarm to the public, statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes, defamation with criminal conspiracy.

The police have invoked Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act even though the provision has been struck down by the Supreme Court. On multiple occasions, the apex court has directed that nobody should be prosecuted under the provision, a press release by the PCI on Monday said.

The entire issue revolves around the role of the media, and it is evident that the Editor’s guild did a commendable job by sending a fact finding team to check the ground situation and information which are being suppressed, it added.

This is a strong arm tactic by the state government which amounts to intimidation of the apex media body of the country, it said.

At a time when violence-marred Manipur needs utmost attention of the government, such a move by the state government would only make the matters worse and would be seen as a deliberate attempt to suppress the truth. It is a case of shooting the messenger rather than taking measures to restore peace in the state.

“We demand that the FIR against EGI President and the three members be withdrawn immediately.”

Chief minister N. Biren Singh on Monday lambasted the fact finding report of the editor’s guild. He said the editor’s guild acts as if trying to add fuel to the crisis. The government does not take lightly reports blaming only one community or government without any evidence.

The All Manipur Working Journalist Union and Editors Guild Manipur had strongly denied ‘the Editor’s Guild of India’s motivated allegation based on hearsay’.

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