Gautam Das, former editor of Daily Desher Katha (middle), along with editor Samir Pal (to his left) and journalist Milan De Sarkar, addressing mediapersons on Tuesday Credit: EastMojo image

Agartala: Terming the government move to cancel the registration of Daily Desher Katha, a four-decade-old mouthpiece of the CPI-M in Tripura, a draconian step that throttles freedom of the media, the Editors Guild of India (EGI) on Wednesday demanded revocation of the order with immediate effect.

According to media reports, the registration of Daily Desher Katha was cancelled on the ground that there was “unauthorised change in ownership”. The EGI also demanded for a detailed enquiry on the closure notice of the newspaper. The editors’ body also demanded to find out if there were any political reasons behind it.

“The guild is of the view that the cancellation of the registration of a publication on the mere finding that there was mismatch between the information of the editor, printer and publisher is not only a gross overreaction but also a draconian step that throttles freedom of the media,” a press release issued by the EGI on Wednesday said.

The sudden decision of the government will jeopardise the livelihood of more than 200 workers and employees associated with the newspaper, said reports.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Gautam Das, a CPI-M spokesperson and former editor of Daily Desher Katha, had challenged the order of the district magistrate of West Tripura, Sandeep Mahatme, for claiming the paper as illegal and had termed it as an injustice to the freedom of the press.

“The popular newspaper, launched on August 15, 1979, had to face so many ups and downs since its inception. But from the day when the BJP-IPFT government came in power in the state, the ruling parties are continuously trying to shut down the newspaper to gain their vested interests. We believe, October 1 is a black day in the history of journalism,” Das said.

In a letter issued on Monday, the Registrar of Newspapers in India (RNI) had said the publication was being suspended based on a verdict passed by DM Mahatme. It cited “unauthorised change of ownership” as reason for the cancellation of the Bengali daily’s registration.

Commenting on the issue, Mrinal Kanti Deb, BJP spokesperson, said, “The newspaper has been misguiding the people and it is facing the consequences today. The BJP has got nothing to do with this. Law is doing its own job.”

Meanwhile, the Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) has also expressed serious concern over the closure of the newspaper and urged the authority concerned to help resume its publication at the earliest.

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