PCI to Nagaland Editors & Assam Rifles, “resolve mutually”
The Press Council of India (PCI) asked the editors of three Nagaland-based newspapers and Assam Rifles along with the state government to "meet and seek to resolve" the issues arising out of a notice issued by the para-military force to the editors in October allegedly infringing upon the freedom of the press.
Asking them to "bear in mind the larger national interest and need to preserve the freedom of the Press," the Press Council however did not give a deadline for the three stakeholders. They were just directed to place a report to it on the outcome of their deliberations.
Three editors – Monalisa Changkija of Nagaland Page, Newimai Wobithou of Eastern Mirror and Akum Longchari of Morung Express – appeared before the Press Council during its meeting while an official of the Assam Rifles and another of the Nagaland government came as representative.
To recap on October 24 this year the Assam Rifles, the country's oldest para-military force engaged in counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland under the command of the Army, had issued a notice to three newspaper editors of the state accusing them of extending support to the NSCN(K), a banned outfit, by way of carrying their press releases. The Assam Rifles had particularly pointed at certain news items and said that those "can be construed as providing support to an Unlawful Association." The editors dismissed the allegations as unfounded and described it as an attempt to gag the press. Three newspapers also carried blank editorials coinciding the National Press Day on November 16 as a mark of protest.