IMPHAL, Dec 24 - The Press Council of India (PCI) has taken up a suo-moto case in the incident of threat given to Yumnam Rupachandra, Editor-in-Chief of a cable TV news network in Manipur, reports said.
PCI Chairman Justice CK Prasad has expressed his grave concern over the death threats to the Editors and working journalists in Manipur from some underground and banned organisations in recent days and sought a report from the State Government on the issue.
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 newsroom and it violated freedom of the press guaranteed by Indian Constitution.
The action follows the reports of death threats received by Rupachandra from a militant organisation for not broadcasting a press note issued by it. Concerned over the safety and threat to freedom of press, all Manipur newspapers carried blank editorial on December 16 and closed down publication of newspapers and broadcast of news on December 17 last.
Terming it as unacceptable in a democratic society, Justice Prasad said the PCI, a statutory body mandated to protect freedom of the press in the country, had taken suo-motu cognisance of the threats to the media and media personnel in Manipur. It will thereafter explore the possibility of sending a sub-committee to assess the situation in Manipur and surrounding States.
Editors Guild of India has also expressed serious concern over the threats faced by the media houses in general and Editors in particular in Manipur. In a statement, the Guild said that there is serious threat to freedom of media in the State. Condemning the incident, the Guild urged the Manipur Government to arrest the culprits and give protection to journalists in the State.