Put behind bars under NSA Why target the media ?


It is getting ugly and the perplexing part is, it is the media which seems to be at the receiving end of some extremely unsavoury comments and observations. The issue at the centre of it all is the arrest and detention of Kishorchandra Wangkhem under the National Security Act. The young man in question here was with ISTV and why and how he was arrested under NSA, after being freed by a Court earlier, must be known to all, and caught in the middle is the media of Manipur which has been at the receiving end of the ballistic verbal missiles hurled by some of the proclaimed defenders of human rights and free speech. Topping the assault on the media is the pronouncement in the social media, that save for two newspapers, all other newspapers will not be allowed to be brought inside Manipur University, until Kishorchandra is released. This is where it becomes pertinent to question whether it is the media which has detained the young man under NSA or some other entity, which in this case is the State. The natural question that follows is, why the media should be targeted over an issue in which it had nothing to do. Moreover remember Kishorchandra was arrested not for anything that had to do with the media. He was not arrested for having said or written anything in the media. If that had been the case then the invectives hurled at the media could have been understood. Moreover this is not the first time that anyone from the media had been arrested for activities that had nothing to do with his profession and just to remind all, a senior Editor was held years back under the NSA and then too the media in Manipur did not go overboard, for what he was arrested for had nothing to do with his profession.
The interesting question is, where were the professed defenders of human rights and free speech back then ? Silence, this is another allegation that has been levelled against the media. Here it would be in line to explain that whatever there is to report has always been reported, at least in The Sangai Express, and if there were any instance of missing out on statements issued by different organisations on the said issue, then this is not the first time that statements issued to the media have been missed. The overwhelming belief of being wronged, of being victimised is understandable but for all this why target the media ? Aren’t the defenders of human rights and free speech missing the trees for the woods ? And when one talks about human rights, where are these rights defenders when it has come to light that Md Abdul Gaffar was found dead after he was picked up by a combined team of Assam Rifles and State Police some time back ? The State Government may also review its decision to slap the NSA on the young man and try to respect the ruling of the Court which earlier ruled that what he had uploaded on his Facebook account did not appear to be intended to create enmity between different groups or promote hatred. It was more an expression of opinion against the Prime Minister and Chief Minister, the Court had observed. Whatever the case maybe, it makes absolutely no sense to target the media over the said issue.

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