India: IJU’s concern on police complaint against the Shillong Times Editor Patricia Mukhim09 Jul, 2020
Indian Journalists Union ( IJU) has expressed serious concern at a police complaint by Lawsohtun village council against The Shilllong Times editor Patricia Mukhim on Monday for a social media post. The village council filed the complaint against Mukhim, alleging that her comments on Facebook about the attack on five boys in Lawsohtun village last week could incite communal tension. IJU president and former member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and IJU Secretary General and also Vice President of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Sabina Inderjit said in a statement that if the village council is aggrieved on Mukhim’s Facebook posting or writing in any media outlet they may issue a clarification on her comments/report in concerned media which is the norm set by Press Council of India and other international media regulatory bodies. Filing police case for an opinion or any posting in social media / report in newspapers/ electronic media/ portals against a Journalist is nothing but violation of freedom of press and freedom of speech. IJU appeals concerned leaders of the village council to withdraw the complaint and issue a press release express its stands. Since a village Council is a democratic institution it is expected that they follow norms and respect freedom of press, the statement said.
Media reported that on July 3, some masked miscreants had attacked five boys on a basketball court in Lawsohtun village. No arrests have been made in the case so far. Eleven suspects have been detained for questioning, East Khasi Hills district Superintendent of Police Sylvester Nongtynger told PTI.
IJU leaders said the incident is unfortunate and the matter should be settled through dialogue and mutual understanding on the basis of the doctrine of freedom of speech and responsibility on socially sensitive issues.