New Delhi/ September 15, 2023 (SPN) | The Supreme Court has intervened to prevent the potential arrest of journalists associated with the Editors Guild of India. SC has extended protections to members of EGI for another two weeks today.
As per the PIL filed by International Meeteies Forum, the reports by EGI lacked authenticity and have caused prejudice to the law and order situation of Manipur. The same PIL also mentioned that the EGI report clearly showed its nexus with narco-terrorist groups and its violation of journalism ethics and EGI has acted as a mouthpiece for armed Kuki militants and narco terrorism.
The High Court of Manipur admitted the PIL on September 14, 2023 and issued notice to the Editors Guild of India and other respondents.
Earlier, FIRs have been filed against these journalists due to their release of a fact-finding report on Manipur.
Manipur police filed charges against four journalists involved in preparing the fact-finding report. They were accused of inciting religious hatred. Interestingly, the editors had compiled the report at the request of the Army.
The report criticized local media for bias and accused the government of taking partisan actions.
The Supreme Court has asked the government to submit its affidavit within two weeks. After reviewing the affidavit, the court will decide whether the case should be transferred to Delhi.
Members of the Editors Guild fact-finding team, including its president Seema Mustafa, have been booked by Manipur police. The journalists argued in their plea that they faced severe social media harassment and feared for their lives if they were required to go to Manipur.
Several journalist organizations, including the Indian Women Press Corps, Press Club of Mumbai, Delhi Union of Journalists, and Press Club of Mumbai, have protested against Manipur police.
The journalists were booked under Section 66 of the IT Act, which the Supreme Court had previously declared unconstitutional and directed states not to take legal action under this section.
The FIR against the guild journalists also includes sections from the Indian Penal Code related to inciting religious hatred, spreading false information, and hurting communal sentiments.