Shillong Press Club express concern over HNLC accusing media
Shillong, Aug 10: The Shillong Press Club (SPC) in an emergent Google Meet convened on Tuesday evening has expressed deep concern at the tone and tenor of the HNLC statement which squarely accused the press for not publishing the proscribed outfit’s bandh calls by obeying the order of the Meghalaya High Court.
The Full Bench consisting of Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice T Nandakumar Singh and Justice S.R. Sen in its order dated 27th May 2015 specifically pronounced, “Hence, we direct that the statements of HNLC or any organization which may disturb the even tempo of day-to-day public life and cause violation of Fundamental rights of citizens in particular under Article 19 and 21 of the 12 Constitution of India relating to strike, Bandh, Hartal, Road Blockade and holding of Rallies with unlawful design shall not be issued by any of the print and electronic media. In case of violation of this order, the Court may not only proceed under the Contempt of Courts Act, but it is also directed that the State Government shall register criminal cases under appropriate provisions of the law.”
At the meeting the members were categorical in reminding all that while freedom of expression applies to the journalist as well, obedience to the law of the land in letter and spirit is also an absolute responsibility. As journalists, it is our duty to first obey the law of the land and for that matter the universal law of the world and humankind which abhors violence and senseless criminal acts while discharging our professional duties.
“May we ask if one violates a standing High Court order which assures due punishment for violators, and is harassed or even incarcerated, who will fend for the family of the journalist? Will the HNLC intervene and sort out the issue or for that matter rescue the journalist from a foreign land?” the SPC said.
According to the SPC perhaps the HNLC is not aware that journalists perform their assigned duty to the ‘T’ and it is left to the editorial heads to decide what goes and what does not and here too, the universal law of the land clearly applies to the editors as well if not more.
The SPC also reminded that issuing a threat however veiled it may be, tantamount to violation of a person’s personal liberty which also applies to the HNLC which from time to time seeks support from human rights bodies whenever it has felt wronged.
The Shillong Press Club also drew the attention of the Meghalaya High Court towards this recent event and sincerely implores upon it to comprehend the threat apprehension that the working journalist now has because of such an intimidating statement; and perhaps conceive a permanent solution to this prickly but sensitive matter.
“The journalist fraternity of Meghalaya stands firm in solidarity with one another and will continue to endeavour to serve the peace loving people of the state in the best possible manner it can, despite the many challenges and stumbling blocks throughout the journey,” the SPC said.
The Shillong Press Club has also called upon the HNLC which has always used the services of the media as a medium to announce its intentions and actions and even indicate its desire to return back home, albeit on it’s terms; to ponder over what it has communicated to the press and hopes that prudent wisdom will prevail, so that the people of the land already living a beleaguered life with so many uncertainties can at least live a life of lasting peace.