India

Manipur’s news website becomes first target of Centre’s new rules on digital media

Manipur government on Tuesday issued a directive to a news website “The Frontier Manipur” based in Imphal, asking the portal to furnish relevant documents showing it ensured compliance of the new regulation introduced by the Centre on digital media.

The directive was issued by Naorem Praveen, Deputy Commissioner Imphal West on March 1, addressing the publisher/intermediary of “Khanasi Neinasi”, a weekly online discussion, of The Frontier Manipur (TFM).

Apparently, this was the first notice served to a digital media organisation in the country after the Central government introduced new rules on February 25 to regulate digital media in India.

It has come to our notice that you are providing online news services on news and current affairs on social media platform through the Facebook page “Khanasi Neinasi”, the notice said.

Citing the new rules, the notice said, “You are hereby directed to furnish all the relevant documents showing that you ensure compliance of the provision of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guideline and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.”

Failing to comply with the directive, the DC warned that steps “as deemed fit” shall be initiated against the TFM without further notice.

Executive Editor of TFM, Paojel Chaoba, told Indianexpress.com that the notice was delivered to Chaoba’s house by a team of police on Monday morning.

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“I had been arrested just recently under sedition charge and my family is yet to fully recover from the trauma inflicted by the incident a sending a team of police at my residence to deliver the notice speaks for itself that this is nothing but intimidation”, opined Chaoba.

He claimed that the discussion programme they had recently uploaded on their Facebook page focuses on “Freedom of Press”. “We will file a petition in the court against the notice”, he said.

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Paojel Chaboa was detained for a night at the police station along with his editor-in-chief, after the TFM published an article which is alleged to have “endorsed revolutionary ideologies”. However, they were released the following day after they reportedly admitted to having published due to oversight.

However, the Imphal West DC retracted the notice served to Chaoba on Tuesday evening. The notice which reads “It is to inform you that this office notice even dated March 1, 2021 served to you stands withdrawn with immediate effect”, was pasted at the gate of the journalist’s residence.

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