Indian journalist faces criminal charges over Facebook posts15 Aug, 2018
Television journalist Kishorchandra Wangkhem was arrested and charged with inciting public mischief through a series of Facebook posts, in Imphal, Manipur, India on August 9, 2018. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the National Union of Journalists (India) have condemned the arrest of Wangkhem; and demand all charges be dropped.
Wangkhem, an anchor and sub-editor at Information Service Television Network (ISTV), was arrested on August 9 on charges of misusing social media with the intention of inciting public mischief. On August 10, he was placed in 15-day police custody by the chief judicial magistrate of Imphal. After protests from journalists, and apology from the president of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union and editor in chief of ISTV to Chief Minister N Biren Singh, he was released on bail.
The charges against Wangkhem stated that he posted pictures with captions on August 7 that intended to “cause fear or alarm to sections of the public”. In one of the posts, he mimicked the ruling party. He is charged under Section 505(2) of the Indian Penal Code, which refers to ‘statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill will between classes.’
The NUJ (India) and its state unit Manipur Journalists Association condemned arrest of Wangkhem and demanded a judicial inquiry on the arrest. The NUJ(I) said: “The security of journalists in the Manipur state is a matter of concern.”
The IFJ said: “The IFJ expresses serious concerns over the arrest of a journalist in Manipur, India over a Facebook posts. The arrest and charges against the journalist is an attempt to harass the journalist and silence him. This is against the principle of free expression. The IFJ urges the Indian authorities to drop charges against him.”