Guwahati, May 19: The Guwahati Press Club on Tuesday expressed concern over summoning of journalists for questioning without formal notice and demanded “necessary instructions” for following norms to remove ambiguity in the process.
Taking note of the recent case of summoning a city- based scribe by the NIA without any formal notice, the largest body of journalists in the Northeast has shot a letter to the chiefs of Assam Police, National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
“Of late, there have been instances where journalists based in Guwahati, who also happens to be the member of our Club, were asked to appear before different investigating agencies in connection with certain cases registered in the State.
“What has struck us in the entire episode is the manner in which some of these journalists were asked to appear before the investigation agency,” Guwahati Press Club (GPC) General Secretary Sanjoy Ray said in the letter.
In some of the recent cases, which have created apprehensions among working journalists in the state, investigators summoned journalists without even serving them formal notices, while some were asked to appear over a phone call or just a text message, he pointed out.
“In such cases, it is difficult to ascertain for us and the journalist concerned whether he or she has been asked to appear as an accused, witness or anything else,” the letter said.
On May 15, the NIA quizzed journalist Manash Jyoti Baruah for almost five hours in connection with anti- Citizenship (Amendment) Act violence in December 2019 and peasant leader Akhil Gogoi’s alleged role in it, but he was summoned a day before over phone.
“Experts, with whom we got in touch to get the legal perspective on the matter, suggested that it is the right of the person summoned to be served a formal notice.
“Under such circumstances, we urge you to look into the matter and pass necessary instructions so that the laid down norms are adhered to, and there remains no scope for ambiguity,” Ray said in the letter. (PTI)