Five newspapers in Nagaland were published with their editorial spaces blank to protest what they termed an effort by the Assam Rifles to suppress freedom of the media in the state.
The Nagaland Press Association (NPA), a conglomerate of journalists and non-journalists, also extended support to the editors in their protest against the para-military force.
English dailies Morung Express, Eastern Mirror and Nagaland Page and vernacular papers Capi Daily (in Angami dialect) and Tir Yimyim (in Ao dialect) were published with their editorial spaces blank as a mark of protest.
The Nagaland Post, meanwhile, carried an editorial opposing the Assam Rifles’ diktat.
They were protesting against a letter purportedly sent by the Assam Rifles to the editors of all local dailies on October 24. The letter allegedly warned newspapers against carrying statements made by militant groups, specifically the NSCN(K), reminding them that the outfit had been declared an “unlawful association” by the Union home ministry.
“Any article which projects the demands of NSCN(K) and gives it publicity is a violation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1957, and should not be published by your newspaper,” the letter had said.
The NSCN(K) had abrogated the 14-year-old ceasefire with the Centre in April.
Meanwhile, Nagaland Press Association president K Temjen Jamir today said, “The Assam Rifles is not here to govern, but only to perform their assigned duty. They are supposed to maintain peace and as media persons we are also trying to promote peace. We must work together,” he said.
Apex students body in the state, Naga Students’ Federation also condemned the “malicious effort” of the Assam Rifles to curtail the freedom of press.