Thursday, February 22, 2024

FIR against Editors Guild of India for fact-finding report on Manipur violence

The Manipur Police has filed an FIR against the fact-finding team from the Editors Guild of India (EGI) that had visited Manipur and published a report on media coverage of the ethnic violence in the northeastern state.

The FIR was registered under the sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to promoting enmity between groups, injuring or defiling a place of worship, uttering words with deliberate intent to hurt religious feelings and statements conducing to public mischief.

The FIR names the authors of the report – Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor – and the president of the Editors Guild of India, Seema Mustafa.

“The state government has filed an FIR against the members of the Editors’ Guild for trying to create more clashes in the state of Manipur,” chief minister N. Biren Singh said.

The FIR is based on the complaint filed by one Ngangom Sarat, a Meitei activist. He said that the report is false in entirety and “sponsored by Kuki militants.”

The compliant refers to one photo caption in the report. The caption, the complaint said, said that smoke was rising from a Kuki home – but it was in fact the home of a forest official. The Editor’s Guild had recognised the error in caption and said on X, “We regret the error that crept in at the photo editing stage.”

The EGI report had said that several reports on violence coming out of Manipur were “one-sided”. The media based out of Imphal, according to the EGI report, had “transformed into Meitei media”.

“This is a strong arm tactic by the state government which amounts to intimidation of the apex media body of the country,” read a statement by Press Club of India.

“At a time when violence-marred Manipur needs utmost attention of the government, such a move by the state government would only make the matters worse and would be seen as a deliberate attempt to suppress the
truth. It is a case of shooting the messenger rather than taking measures to restore peace in the state,” read the statement.

This is the second fact-finding team that has seen police action after publishing a report on Manipur. In July, a case was registered against the members of the National Federation of Indian Women’s team in Manipur.

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