Threat to freedom of speech in India, says Editors Guild on case against Patricia Mukhim
The guild underlined the need for higher judiciary to take cognisance of issues that impede freedom of speech.
NEW DELHI: The Editors Guild of India expressed its concern over the Meghalaya High Court refusing to quash criminal proceedings against Padma Shri awardee and editor of Shillong Times Patricia Mukhim on Sunday.
This comes after Mukhim resigned from the guild saying that the body issued statements only for 'celebrity journalists'. She had criticised the guild's silence on her issue. "...there was a complete silence from their side, whereas they were very quick to give a statement on behalf of Arnab Goswami, although he was arrested in a case that is non-journalistic in nature," she had said.
The guild underlined the need for higher judiciary to take cognisance of issues that impede freedom of speech. It urged that guidelines should be issued to ensure press can function smoothly.
The guild said in its statement, "Mukhim's case is an example of how multiple legal provisions can be used against free speech and therefore against free press. Several provisions across multiple laws give a handle to government agencies and law enforcement authorities to lodge criminal cases against journalists wherein the criminal complaint procedure itself becomes an exacting punishment, and acts as a deterrent against exercise of free speech."
It added that the media's responsibility was to question the affairs of the government. "They cannot be held liable for relaying information that may bring to fore details on fault lines within society," the statement read.
Mukhim had claimed in her post that the continued attacks on non-tribals in Meghalaya had gone unpunished which had turned it into a failed state.