As the media fraternity observed National Press Day Monday, four daily newspapers in Nagaland carried blank editorials to protest against a letter from Assam Rifles, asking them not to publish any “article projecting the demands of NSCN(K)” and requesting the state government to take action against newspapers that do so.
The Assam Rifles letter stated: “Any article which projects the demands of NSCN(K) and gives it publicity is a violation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, and should not be published by your newspaper.”
Marking copies of the letter to the state chief secretary, principal secretary, home commissioner and DGP, the paramilitary force had asked them to take suo motu cognisance against editors. Copies were also marked to NIA and the GOC of the Army’s 3 Corps, which is the overall incharge of counter-insurgency operations in the state.
Editors of six newspapers had earlier issued a joint statement in this regard.
“The editors are concerned by the suggestion that in our reporting we, in effect, support unlawful association and are complicit in illegal activities. Is this an attempt to censor, weaken and ultimately silence the role of the media in Nagaland?” the statement said.
The editors also said the Assam Rifles had pushed journalists into risk of personal safety.