IJU President and former member of Press Council Geetartha Pathak and Sabina Inderjit, IJU Secretary General, who is also Vice President of IFJ and President, Federation of Asia Pacific Journalists Association, said such harassment of President of AMWJU, an affiliate, is unacceptable in any democratic society.
Indian Journalists Union (IJU) has condemned the summoning and harassment of the President of All Manipur Working Journalists Union, Wangkhemcha Shamjai by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The IJU President Geetartha Pathak joined the protest held by AMWJU, Editors Guild Manipur (EGM) and Manipur Hill Journalists Union (MHIU) in Imphal on Thursday demanding that the NIA desist from such arbitrary actions against journalists and respect the freedom of the press, said a release issued by Sabina Inderjit, IJU Secretary General.
Wangkhemcha Shamjai, Editor-in-Chief of an evening daily Kangleipakki Meira was summoned by the NIA on August 2 to its office at 10 a.m. with regard to investigations over alleged involvement of two other journalists aiding the underground groups. With a clear mind to co-operate, Shamjai turned up on time, but to his utter surprise, was left in a small room without being interacted till one officer began interrogating him around noon. He was hurled with uncomfortable and unrelated queries in another room regarding underground groups. The interrogation went on till 5 pm and according to Shamjai, he was also intimidated by the NIA sleuths the next day.
Taking strong exception to such arbitrary action of the NIA, the media organisations, AMWJU, EGM and MHJU convened an emergency meeting at the Manipur Press Club, decided to hold a protest and have issued a Memorandum to the Governor and Chief Minister condemning the action and demanding that the media not be harassed till there is proof of any involvement and journalists be spared the harassment.
In a statement, IJU President and former member of Press Council Geetartha Pathak and Sabina Inderjit, IJU Secretary General, who is also Vice President of IFJ and President, Federation of Asia Pacific Journalists Association, said such harassment of President of AMWJU, an affiliate, is unacceptable in any democratic society. Expressing solidarity with the media organisations, the IJU said NIA’s actions are a big challenge to functioning of the media and its independence. It joined them in urging the Governor and Chief Minister to look into the matter and take necessary actions to ensure the media fraternity is not further harassed by the NIA or any other investigating agencies in future.