The journalists of Northeast Now have registered formal complaints with multiple authorities against Meghalaya Police’s despicable aim to gag the media.
Complaints were registered with the Press Council of India, union minister of Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar, Indian Journalists Union, Editors’ Guild of India, Digital News Publishers Association of India and Journalists’ Union of Assam.
The complaint said that successive insistent communications from Meghalaya Police have raised a serious question about the state police force’s intentions to gag the media.
“We fear that a section of the police personnel are preparing grounds for the assault on the media with a political game-plan,” Anirban Roy editor-in-chief of Northeast Now said. .
MGT Sangma, Special Superintendent of Police (CID) of the Meghalaya Police on August 13, had sent a notice under Section 91 CrPC to Northeast Now, the Guwahati-based hyper-regional news-portal.
The police officer asked the news portal to immediately remove a news report and also to ‘provide the authenticity of the source of information’ to the Meghalaya Police.
On August 10, Northeast Now had reported that the former Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma may join the BJP, on the basis of credible information from sources who cannot be identified because it would affect them adversely.
Despite the pressure from Meghalaya Police, the journalists stood by the report, and did not remove it.
There is no provision in Constitution of India which authorizes any police officer of the rank of SSP to force a media organisation for removal of a news report, and order journalists to reveal the source of information.
“To our surprise, on August 14, G K Langrai, assistant inspector general (A) of Meghalaya police issued a press release, claiming that ‘no journalistic privilege protects media organisations from disclosing their source of information as and when required’,” Roy said.
The journalists from Northeast Now requested the authorities to take cognizance of Meghalaya Police’s arbitrary move to muffle the media, and also bail out the members of the media fraternity from the situation.