Journalists from the northeast write to PM, seek safety

April 7th, 2008 - 3:37 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Alarmed at the rise in number of attacks on journalists working in northeastern India, the North East Media Forum (NEMF) has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to ensure their safety in the region. The NEMF, a group of journalists from the northeast working in the capital, pointed out in the letter that time and again scribes in the region have been targeted for carrying out their duties truthfully and fearlessly.

The letter to the prime minister said: “As you must be aware, media persons in the entire northeast work under highly-adverse conditions of low salaries, lack of insurance and risk of bodily injury by those whose misdeeds they expose through their writings.

“As the head of the Indian state, we appeal to you to ensure that media personnel in the northeast can carry out their professional duties without fear of physical harm”.

The letter comes in the wake of the brutal killing of a journalist working for the Assamese daily Asomiya Pratidin, Mohammad Muslimuddin, April 1 in Nagaon district.

He was killed for allegedly reporting on instances of criminal-politician nexus in the area, the letter said.

“Since 1987, about 20 media professionals have been killed in Assam and most of the cases have remained unsolved, putting a question mark on the so-called freedom of the press in the region,” the letter said.

In Manipur, all media had stopped operations since March 21 following threats to four journalists from a faction of the banned People’s United Liberation Front (PULF).

The threat from PULF to abduct media persons had come with the demand that newspapers must overturn their decision not to publish PULF press releases.

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