Indian newspapers publish blank editorial sections to demand press freedom

Indian northeast newspapers publish blank editorial sections to demand Free Press / thenortheasttoday

The Nagaland Page, Eastern Mirror and The Morung Express, three Indian newspapers in the northeast of India, ran blank editorial sections to protest against the problems that journalists are currently facing in maintaining the basic ethics of journalism and to protest the murder of crime reporter Suddip Datta Bhaumik.

As reported by the The Guardian, Bhaumik was allegedly shot dead on the orders from an army official on Tuesday while investigating a story on a paramilitary base.

Earlier, another journalist Santanu Bhowmick was murdered by a mob while covering unrest between tribal groups in the state and Gauri Lankesh, an editor and activist, was shot dead on her doorstep in Karnataka.

A joint public statement by Nagaland Newspapers said: "In the process of upholding its responsibility, the media continues to be exposed to ongoing harassment and threats by individuals and organizations that coerce the media to publish their articles and statements.

"Simultaneously, there are also people who take it upon themselves to determine what the media cannot publish. This also involves dissuading and threatening journalists and media houses from reporting critical stories that expose ground realities of Nagaland’s situation and condition.

Akum Longchari, editor of The Morung Express as reported by thenortheasttoday said : “The conditions of our times has put us in a world of contradictions and ironies. When the role of Free Press is considered essential in the world of globalisation, we find our space more limited and narrow."

"At this juncture, only the free press can provide an independent voice, democratic space and platform for dialogue. We can no longer just remain commentators of history. We must communicate, we must lead and we must walk with the people.”

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