ITANAGAR, Oct 7: The state press fraternity on Saturday filed an FIR at the Itanagar Police Station against the persons involved in the act of chopping and burning copies of The Arunachal Times newspaper in Indira Gandhi Park here recently, and against the person(s) who uploaded the video of it in social media sites, while inciting communal hatred against the particular daily.
The decision to file an FIR was taken following a meeting of the Arunachal Press Club (APC), Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists (APUWJ) and Arunachal Electronic Media Association (AEMA), in presence of The Arunachal Times editor at the press club here.
The house present in the meeting also discussed the arbitrary ban on the distribution of The Arunachal Times in East Siang district by the Adi Baane Kebang Youth Wing (ABKYW) recently, which has directly undermined the essence of the freedom of press. Moreover, the video footage and letters to The Arunachal Times indicate that the decision to ban the daily in East Siang district was taken on communal lines.
Though the ban was forcefully implemented by the ABKYW, the state press fraternity is of the opinion that the guidance and permission to do so was issued by the ABK (Apex) and is also accountable for the act.
Also, the state press fraternity believes that it has given ample time period to the ABK to intervene into the matter to rectify the actions done by its youth wing, which is the primary reason why the state fraternity was silent over the serious matter till today.
In regard to the purported “Show Cause Notice” issued to the Managing Director and Editor of The Arunachal Times by the ABKYW on September 28, the fraternity finds it illogical, uncalled for and outrageous, especially the content of the notice.
It is unfortunate that the ABKYW is of the opinion that The Arunachal Times owned by an individual who belongs to the Adi community should support the cause of the Adi people in creation of Lower Siang district.
The ABKYW and for all those who matter, it should be understood that being a press body it cannot side with any single community, organization, individual, etc, or else they would not be called the fourth pillar of democracy.
Regarding the allegation that The Arunachal Times has sidelined the reports of the Adi community during the period of discord between Adi and Galo communities over the Lower Siang district creation issue, it can be clarified here that a unanimous decision was earlier taken by the press fraternity that no press releases which could further fuel the communal tension between the Adi and Galo communities, will be published.
In regard to the issue of publishing the Tala Bandi Andolan of government establishment by Galo Student’s Union in Galo inhabited areas and the scuffle between the government machinery and the Galo community based organizations at Nari; the matter was published because it involved government establishments and machineries.
It can be noted here that the report on it was published not only in The Arunachal Times but other dailies as well.
Further, the state press fraternity finds that the ABKYW’s resentment in its “Show Cause Notice” that The Arunachal Times did not publish the report of the Adi Solidarity Rally at Pasighat on September 21, was childish, misinformed and narrow minded.
Again, to the ABKYW and for all those who matter, it should be understood that a news publication house is not bound to carry out a report merely because other news publication houses are publishing out the same. In fact, it can be mentioned here that it was not only The Arunachal Times but other publications as well who did not publish the report. Somewhere along the line it was also the fault of the correspondents and freelancers who failed to send in the report before the deadline, which is 8 pm.
Moreover, whatever the misunderstanding and misgivings the ABKYW had with The Arunachal Times, and if they felt that their voice was ignored by The Arunachal Times, then they should have approached the APC, APUWJ or Arunachal Pradesh Editors’ Guild for intervention instead of taking such illogical and drastic measures.
Reacting against the outrageous and intimidating video footage, the press bodies termed the ABKYW’s action as demeaning, with an attempt to dictate the freedom of press. The press bodies also sent out a strong message that such an act from any organisation will not be tolerated.
“Any attempt to dictate functioning of press bodies by using communal tools will not be tolerated”, said APC President Chopa Cheda.
“The community based organisations should understand that a media organisation does not belong to any community, and rather stands for the voiceless people”, Cheda added.
Accordingly, the state fraternity demands that the ABKYW immediately lift the ban on distribution of The Arunachal Times in East Siang district and tender public apology with explanation for its actions within seven days, failing which will attract strict measures against the ABKYW and its parent organization by the state press fraternity.