The Editors Guild of India has condemned the arrest of a writer and two editors of Manipur website The Frontier Manipur under the Indian Penal Code applicable to sedition and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) calling it a brazen violation of every constitutional safeguard given for freedom of expression.
A release by the apex editor’s body in the country said what is worrying and shocking is that the Sadokpam Diren chief editor and Paojel Chaoba, executive editor of the website, and the writer of the reportedly offending article M. Joy Luwang, were under draconian anti-terror laws for their analysis of the politics of Manipur state.
The statement jointly signed by the EGI president, Seema Mustafa, general secretary, Sanjay Kapoor and treasurer, Anant Nath, said the guild that till the police is 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.
It added that 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, it added.
The statement also demanded the immediate release of the editors and withdrawal of these cases that pose a threat to free expression, and to democracy itself.
They say “It is fatal to enter a war without the will to win it”. Having said that, one can only imagine, the vigour, the