Investigators Must Rescind Order Seeking News Sources in India’s Manipur State


Media Release: India                                 

August 29 2013       



Police investigators inquiring into the source

of a picture published in a daily in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur in

2010 are intruding into press freedom, the International Federation of

Journalists (IFJ) warned.


Reports from the All Manipur Working

Journalists’ Union (AMWJU), a unit of the IFJ-affiliated Indian Journalists’

Union (IJU) indicate that the editor of the Naharolgee

Thoudang, published from the state capital Imphal, recently received a

communication dated August 8 from India’s  National Investigation Agency (NIA), demanding that he hand over the

original print or digital image of a picture published in the daily in 2010.


The NIA, a recently constituted agency under

India’s Union Government, tasked specifically with investigating terrorism

cases, has also asked the editor to name the photographer involved in capturing

the image of the “raising day” of a banned militant outfit, the Peoples’

Liberation Army (PLA) which has been engaged in an insurgency against

government forces since 1978.


The IFJ has in past years had occasion to raise

a number of concerns about the safety and security of journalists in Manipur.

With a population of less than three million and an estimated thirty

underground militant organisations which operate with impunity, Manipur has

always been challenging terrain for the practice of journalism.


Security officials are often known to issue

explicit threats that media seen to be lending “direct or indirect” support to

any of the banned militant groups would be liable for summary action, including

seizure and forfeiture.


At the same time, the militant groups exert

pressures through numerous channels to seek publicity for particular points of

view and deny others any manner of a hearing.


“We call on the investigating agency in India to

reconsider and rescind its order to the Imphal newspaper, seeking it to

identify the source of a news photograph”.


“In a climate of uncertainty and fear, this adds

to the sense of siege that journalists in Manipur work under”.


“Every ban enforced on an armed underground

organisation is subject to judicial review at periodic intervals”.


“By the same criterion, Manipur’s media must not

be prevented from reporting on these organisations in a manner that is

objective and dispassionate and does not amount to an advocacy of their ends or



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