“Editors guild of India condemn criminal charges against Patricia Mukim”.

New Delhi, 22nd Nov,

The Editors Guild of India is concerned to see Padma Shri Award and Shillong Times editor, Patricia Mukim, being dragged through a cumbersome criminal charges process, which stems from a complaint on one of her social media posts. A criminal complaint was filed in a basketball court in Lawsohtun in response to his Facebook post in July 2020 over a clash between tribal and non-tribal youth.  Mukim’s case is a reflection of major threats to freedom of speech in India, which operate under an informal framework of laws often used by government and law enforcement agencies to indiscriminately spread dissent.

In his post, Mukhim claimed that the ongoing attacks on non-tribals had gone in vain, turning Meghalaya into a failed state. Dorbar Shanong (a Khasi tribal institution) treated it as a divisive remark and filed a police complaint, on which Section 153A / 500 / 505C IPC (crimes promoting dissent and enmity between different groups as well as criminal A criminal case was filed under defamation) and asked him to present himself before the investigating officer. In his attempt to seek legal remedies against the FIR, Mukhim went to the Meghalaya High Court, but the court refused to quash the criminal proceedings on 10 November.

Mukhim’s example is an example of how many legal provisions can be used against free speech and therefore against the free press. Several provisions of various laws allow government agencies and law enforcement officials to advocate criminal cases against journalists, in which the criminal complaint process itself becomes an exact punishment, and act as a deterrent against the practice of free speech. is. The major responsibility of the media is to question the government’s affairs and report the information, however harsh and disturbing it may be. They cannot be held liable for relaying information that may be exposed on faulty lines within society or for that matter, mismanagement and corruption in government affairs.

The Editors Guild of India underlines the need for the higher judiciary to take cognisance of these important issues, which impede freedom of speech and issue guidelines to ensure that the proper use of laws is made for an independent press. Does not work as a deterrent.

These statements have been issued by Seema Mustafa, President, Sanjay Kapoor, General Secretary and Anant Nath, Treasurer of The Editors Guild of India.

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