TOM TV NEWS
Journalist, lawyers and human rights came together in a show strength and solidarity to demand the immediate release of journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, incarcerated under the National Security (NSA), and dropping of all charges against him. In response to the dire need to respond to the grave and growing challenges to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression and the right to dissent in Manipur, representatives of JSCC, DESAM, AIM, MUSU and MSAD also joined the deliberation to discuss the setting up of a broad-based network to defend freedom of expression. Talking to media persons, Advocate of Supreme Court of India, Shreeji Bhavsar said, the detention of Kishorechandra under NSA is violation of the fundamental right to freedom of expression envisaged under Article 19 (1) (a) under the constitution of India. He strongly condemned Kishorechandra’s detention and stand in solidarity with his family.
Tolerance of dissenting views and opinions, however unpalatable they might be, is a sign of a mature democracy. Clamping down on the Right to Speech and slapping of disproportionate criminal charges do not bode well for the country in an election year,’ said Laxmi Murthy, a journalist based in Bangalore.
On the other hand, Director of Human Rights Alert said, detaining Kishorechandra under the draconian NSA for one year soon after he was released on bail by the Chief Judicial Magistrate is violation of fundamental right to freedom and undermining rule of law. It is also instilling fear in young Manipuris in speaking against what they perceive as a systematic and diabolic push to distort their history and to ultimately obliterate their distinct identity.
Later, a discussion on ‘shortcomings faced by journalists,’ and ‘Saving the right to freedom’ was also held along with the experts.