In a concerning incident for press freedom in Manipur, senior journalist and “Huiyel Lalpao” editor, Dhanbir Maibam, aged 62, was released on Sunday after spending three days in police custody.
Arrest Sparks Press Freedom Concerns in Manipur
The arrest of Dhanbir Maibam, which occurred on January 5, stirred significant concerns about the state of press freedom in Manipur. The journalist’s detention followed the publication of a news report in “Huiyel Lalpao” addressing the law and order situation in Manipur.
Police authorities claimed that the published report violated multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 505(1)(B) (statements conducive to public mischief), 505(2) (false statements inducing public mischief), 120-B (criminal conspiracy), and provisions of the Official Secrets Act. The police contended that the report was highly inflammatory and had the potential to cause fear or alarm.
Second Instance of Journalistic Detention
This incident marks the second occurrence in recent times where a senior Manipuri journalist faced detainment due to news reports. On December 31st, Wangkhemcha Shyamjai, editor of the vernacular daily “Kangleipakki Meira,” was also arrested and subsequently released after three days for a report published in his publication.