Mizoram Journalists’ Association (MJA) has slammed a bid to gag mediapersons on call of duty during lockdown imposed to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.
Leaders of MJA led by its president Zonunsanga Khiangte on Tuesday met state chief secretary Lalnunmawia Chuaungo and apprised him of the recent notification issued by a district administration and the subsequent incident wherein journalists were prevented by BSF jawans from visiting border areas.
MJA is an umbrella body of all working journalists in the state.
MJA general secretary Zohmingmawia said the meeting of Lunglei district administration, BSF and Young Mizo Association (YMA) under the leadership of Lunglei deputy commissioner on May 11 had passed a resolution curtailing the freedom of the press.
The resolution stated that media persons should get prior permission from BSF commandants of their respective areas before visiting border areas for news coverage, he said.
He said that the association took the resolution seriously as it was an outright violation of the freedom of the press.
Zohmingmawia also said members of MJA from Lunglei district were refused to visit the Indo-Bangladesh border for ground report and giving reliefs to volunteers by BSF despite showing their press credentials recently.
Quoting the Centre order of March 23, he said the ministry of information and broadcasting had directed all chief secretaries of states and union territories to ensure uninterrupted service of journalists to bring latest update on Covid-19 in order to avoid fake news amid lockdown.
Apart from meeting the chief secretary, the MJA leaders also submitted a representation seeking his intervention to revoke the district administration notification and ensure free movement of scribes during lockdown, Zohmingmawia said.
The chief secretary assured them of steps to ensure that freedom of the press is not suppressed and also to alter the deputy commissioner’s notification, he added.