GUWAHATI: Legal problems seem to be compounding for the Editors’ Guild of India (EGI) over the “controversial” fact-finding report on the ongoing sectarian strife in Manipur.
Fourteen days after the Supreme Court extended brief protection from arrest for its four members in connection to two FIRs filed against them in the state, two Manipur journalists’ bodies have served legal notices to the said members.
In two separate notices issued on Sunday, the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and the Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM) have asked the EGI president, Seema Mustafa and three members, to remove all “defamatory” statements levelled against the state’s journalists from the Internet.
They categorically demanded the removal of the controversial fact-finding report from EGI’s social media handles and websites, and asked the guild to issue a clarification in next 15 days to evade civil and criminal action.
Calling the report “highly unfortunate”, the organsations also asked the guild to reappoint another fact-finding team that could craft a comprehensive report inclusive of accounts from all the affected stakeholders.
The organisations also raised objection on the branding of Imphal valley-based media as “Meitei media” in the report. Calling it “obnoxious”, the notice has termed it “ill-motivated”, “biased” and “false news”.
Earlier, a day after the report was released on September 2, social activists in Manipur had filed two FIRs against three journalists of the guild’s fact-finding team at the Imphal and Porompat police stations. The complaint had claimed that the report presented a distorted and misleading account with the intention of inciting communal discord and malign the Meitei community.
The FIR had named three journalists – Seema Guha, Sanjay Kapoor, and Bharat Bhushan – members of the fact-finding team who were in the state from August 7 to 10. A day later on September 4, the Manipur government too had filed an FIR against the four members, calling the report “fake news”.
So far, the EGI has maintained that their report aims to notify the authorities, providing them with insights and recommendations to help guide their decisions in maintaining the rule of law.