Notice served to Publisher of Manipuri talk show 'Khanasi Neinasi' withdrawn after Centre intervenes



A notice served by the Manipur Government to the publisher of a talk show - 'Khanasi Neinasi' of a local news portal, The Frontier Manipur, has been withdrawn with immediate effect after the Centre intervened, citing the Ethics Code.

A notice under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 notified on February 25, was issued on March 1 and, served on Tuesday morning to the publisher/intermediary of Khanasi Neinasi (‘Let’s Talk’).

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India wrote to the Government of Manipur stating that new IT rules which were notified on February 25, 2021, relating to the news publishers and publishers of online curated content (OTT) platforms, including the Code of Ethics, the 3-tier Grievance Redressal Mechanism and the requirement of furnishing of information, are to be administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India and further added that these powers have not been delegated to the State Governments/ District Magistrate and Police Commissioner.

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The Executive Editor of The Frontier Manipur, Paojel Chaoba, along with another colleague were served an “intimidating” notice that was directed to the publisher or intermediary of 'Khanasi Neinasi' and, asked to furnish all relevant documents under the new IT rules, failing of which, steps as deemed fit shall be initiated without further notice.

Reacting to the whole fiasco, Paojel Chaoba said, “It is a blatant misuse of power by the State Government”. He further questioned the "underlying intention" of the letter from the State Government that he felt "wanted to curb their freedom of speech".

“The state government is on a witch hunt of anybody who is critical of the State Government. We are neutral and not against anybody; neither are we with the establishment. It is ironic and in this trying time of the media, we have been slammed with a notice for discussing ‘Media under Siege: Walking on a tightrope," Chaoba added.

(Edited by Laxmi Chyrmang)