The South Asia Media Defenders Network (SAMDEN) which is a group of editors, journalists, bloggers and RTI leaders across several countries of South Asia as well as those of South Asian-origin based in UK and the US, have urged Manipur Chief Minister, N Biren Singh for immediate release of Kishorchandra Wangkhem, the journalist arrested under National Security Act (NSA).
In a letter to the Chief Minister, the SAMDEN requested N Biren to release the detained journalist ‘out of concern on issues of freedom of expression and media rights in Manipur’.
The organization called on the State Government to release him and clarify how his conduct and words, though seemingly inappropriate, threaten national security, the letter stated.
“We also note that he has since been dismissed from his job. His continued detention would be regarded as unjust, particularly in view of the court’s ruling that he had committed no cognizable offence,” it also stated.
A copy of the letter has been forwarded to the Chair, State Human Rights Commission, it stated.
Meanwhile, denouncing the State government’s invocation of the draconian National Security Act 1980 to arrest Kishorchandra Wangkhem as ‘utterly arbitrary, highhanded and vindictive’, the National Media Forum, Bengaluru has also urged the Chief Minister to drop all charges made against him.
A statement addressed to the Chief Minister stated that as journalists from across India, and Bengaluru, ‘we are deeply disturbed by the decision to subject Manipur journalist Wangkhem Kishorchandra to one year of preventive detention over videos posted by him on Facebook criticizing you’.