NEW DELHI: The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has condemned the alleged high handedness of the Meghalaya police to browbeat a Northeast news portal to remove a news item and disclose its sources. Worse, the police have allegedly asserted that media houses had no journalistic privilege or any codification which prevents them from disclosing their sources. The issue has led to apprehension among the State’s media fraternity wherein they fear police reprisal and misuse of power.
The row started with the news portal carrying a news item suggesting Former Chief Minister and Congress leader Mukul Sangma may join the BJP, in its ongoing membership drive. The portal was sent a notice under Section 91CrPc by Special SP MGT Sangma directing it to ‘remove the item’, as it was “misinformation” and asked it “provide the authenticity of the sources of information.”
The portal published the said notice. Thereafter, the Assistant IG (A) J.K Ingarai, issued a press release to all editors of the media in the State justifying its notice claiming the item contains “rumors which may incite hatred or ill-will between different communities” apart from “the intent to defame Mukul Sangma.”
In a statement, IJU president and member, Press Council of India, D Amar and secretary general and IFJ vice president Sabina Inderjit said the notice was misuse of power as the news item was far from “inciting hatred or ill will” and that no criminal case had been registered.
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