The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses concerns over the act of burning copies of The Arunachal Times newspaper in Arunachal state in northeastern India. The IFJ urges the Indian authorities to ensure that those responsible are brought to book, and to respect the principle of free flow of information.
The Adi Baane Kebang Youth Wing (ABKYW), the youth wing of the organization for the indigenous Adi people, destroyed and burned copies of the daily newspaper recently at the Indira Gandhi Park; and uploaded a video of it on social media. The ABKYW has also ‘banned’ the distribution of the daily in East Siang district and issued what it calls a ‘show cause notice’ on September 28. The ABKYW has been critical of the daily for ‘ignoring their voice’ and ‘not backing their demands’ while the newspaper maintained that it had remained neutral and covered all sides.
The publication has lodged a complaint with police following a meeting of the Arunachal Press Club (APC), Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) and Arunachal Electronic Media Association (AEMA). The press bodies termed the action against the press freedom and demanded that ABKYW immediately lift the so-called ‘ban’ on distribution and also tender a public apology.
APC President Chopa Cheda is quoted as saying: “Any attempt to dictate functioning of press bodies by using communal tools will not be tolerated. The community based organizations should understand that a media organisation does not belong to any community, and rather stands for the voiceless people.”
The IFJ said: "The IFJ is concerned by the actions of a local community organization against a newspaper in Arunanchal state that undermine press freedom, independent journalism and editorial judgment. While condemning the burning of the newspaper and banning of its distribution, the IFJ urges all to respect and ensure free flow of information and protect press freedom.”
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