A week after Shillong Times Editor Patricia Mukhim resigned from the Editors Guild of India (EGi), the Guild issued a statement on Sunday, calling the criminal case against Mukhim as a bid by agencies to muzzle dissent.
She had resigned on November 16.
In the statement, EGi said, “Mukhim’s case is a reflection of the larger threats to freedom of speech in India, which operates under an unwieldy framework of laws that are often used indiscriminately by government and law enforcement agencies to muzzle dissent.”
It said Mukhim’s case “Is an example of how multiple legal provisions can be used against free speech and therefore against free press.” Adding, “Media’s prime responsibility is to question the affairs of the government and report information, however harsh or disturbing it may be. They cannot be held liable for relaying information that may bring to fore details on fault lines within the society, or for that matter, mismanagement and corruption in government affairs.
In an exclusive interview with EastMojo, Mukhim had called the Guild’s complete silence as “scornful silence”.
On July 3, 2020, a group of boys who had gone to Lawsohtun locality of Meghalaya to play basketball were assaulted with iron rods, and some had head injuries and had to be admitted to a hospital. Following this Mukhim had posted on Facebook which did not go well with the Dorbar Shnong (Traditional Institution) of Lawsohtun, who had filed an FIR against her. Mukhim’s lawyer then approached the HC to quash the FIR. On November 10, the single bench judge of the Meghalaya High Court judge ruled and refused to quash the case.