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'Intimidation': Hours After Issuing Notice to Talk Show Under New IT Rules, Manipur Govt Withdraws it

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a person and text: 'Intimidation': Hours After Issuing Notice to Talk Show Under New IT Rules, Manipur Govt Withdraws it © Provided by News18 'Intimidation': Hours After Issuing Notice to Talk Show Under New IT Rules, Manipur Govt Withdraws it

Hours after the Manipur government sent a notice to a digital news platform ‘Frontier Manipur’ under the Centre’s new media rules, it was withdrawn with “immediate effect”, reported NewsLaundry.

Reportedly the first digital news platform to be sent a notice under the new laws which were introduced recently by the government, a notice was issued on Tuesday morning to the “publisher or intermediary” of Khanasi Neinasi, a weekly online show hosted by Frontier Manipur on their Facebook page, said Hindustan Times in its report.

The Centre also wrote to Manipur Chief Secretary Dr Rajesh Kumar saying the powers under the new media laws notified on February 25 were not delegated to the state governments/district magistrates/police commissioners.

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The talk show, hosted on Frontier Manipur’s Facebook page and Youtube, is anchored by journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem, an Imphal-based journalist. The BJP-led government has filed several cases against Wangkhem since 2018, and he has been jailed thrice.

Imphal West District magistrate Naorem Praveen Singh issued the notice. “It has come to the notice of the undersigned that you are providing online services on news and current affairs on the social media platform,” the notice said, and directed the “publisher/intermediary” to “furnish all relevant documents that ensure compliance of the provisions” of the new rules “failing which steps as deemed fit shall be initiated without further notice”.

The programme Khanasi Neinasi, which means ‘Let’s Talk’ in Manipuri is two months-old. Wangkhem, also an associate editor of Frontier Manipur told the Hindustan Times that they had hosted just 4-5 shows. He said the last show aired on February 28, a day prior to the notice being issued, was titled ‘Media Under Siege: Are Journalists Walking a Tightrope’, which included a panel discussion on the new IT rules. It was hosted by Wangkhem, and the panelists were Chaoba, independent journalist Grace Jojo, and freelance journalist Ninglun Hanghal, reports said.

Chaoba, who is the news portal’s executive editor, told Newslaundry that several uniformed policemen came to his house to deliver the notice on Tuesday morning. “Is the government trying to gag the media? This is intimidation,” he said, adding that the authorities could have sent the notice through courier.

Wangkhem was first arrested in November 2018 for uploading a video on social media critical of the government of Manipur CM N Biren Singh. Charged with sedition and also under the National Security Act, he was released in April 2019 after the Manipur High Court revoked his detention.

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