The Editors Guild of India and Press Council of India today condemned the attack on media people in Manipur by militants, calling it a serious "threat" to press freedom and demanded protection of journalists by the state government.
"Editors Guild of India condemns violence and attack on media people by militants. Guild calls upon government of Manipur to arrest the culprits and give protection to journalists in the state. There is a serious threat to freedom of media in the state," a Guild statement said.
"All the newspapers in the state closed their publication on December 16 and not even a single newspaper hit the stands on December 17.
In their editions dated December 16 they left the editorial space blank," it noted.
The PCI while expressing grave concern over the death threats to the Editors and working journalists in Manipur from some underground and banned organisations in the recent days sought a report from the state government on the issue. In a statement, the Council Chairman Justice Shri C K Justice Prasad said any "diktat" to the Editors or working journalists for publication or non-publication of news by state or non-state players amounted to "invasion" of the news room and it violated freedom of the press guaranteed under the constitution.
The Council move followed reports of death threats received by Impact TV Editor-in-Chief Yumnam Rupachandra Singh from a militant organisation for not broadcasting a press note issued by it.
Terming it as unacceptable in a democratic society, Justice Prasad said the Press Council of India, a statutory body mandated to protect freedom of the press in the country, had taken suo-motu cognizance of the threats to the media and media personnel in Manipur.
The Council further said it will explore the possibility of sending a sub-committee to assess the situation in Manipur and neighbouring States in the wake of such threats.