The Editors Guild of India has issued a statement on the arrest of three journalists in Manipur under sedition laws as well as UAPA. EGI demands the immediate release of the editors and withdrawal of these cases that pose a threat to free expression, and to democracy itself.
The statement reads, ” The Editors Guild of India consider the recent arrest of a writer and two editors of Manipuri website, ‘The frontier Manipur’ under the Indian Penal Code applicable to sedition and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) as a brazen violation of every constitutional safeguard given for freedom of expression.
What’s worrying and shocking is that the Manipur police have arrested the Editor in Chief Sadokpam Diren, Executive Editor Paojel Chaoba, and the writer M.Joy Luwang under these draconian anti-terror laws for their analysis of the politics of Manipur state.
EGI believes that till the police are not nuanced in fundamental rights and various Supreme Court judgments on the imperative to protect freedom, no media organisation is safe from the irrational use of these laws.
This is not the first time the administration has used draconian laws like sedition and UAPA against editors and journalists. In the past too, journalists holding opinions contrary to the dominant narrative have been subjected to retaliation by the administration. In Manipur, itself journalists have been targeted and arrested under these laws for doing little more than posting critical comments on Facebook.
EGI demands the immediate release of the editors and withdrawal of these cases that pose a threat to free expression, and to democracy itself.”