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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Media bodies condemn attack on woman journalist

Tongam Rina
GUWAHATI: The recent brutal attack on a lady journalist in Itanagar has evoked strong reactions from various media organizations across the country, including international women's organization.The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned the attempt on the life of Tongam Rina, associate editor of Arunachal Times, on July 15 last in Itanagar."We extend our support to the journalists of Arunachal Pradesh who are observing a day-long ceasework in protest against the attempt on Rina's life. We call on the state authorities to thoroughly investigate this attack, as well as all previous instances of overt threats made to journalists, which may all be linked," the federation said in a communique on Tuesday.
Rina has reportedly faced threats in the recent past over her reports and stories. One such instance followed her report on certain irregularities in the functioning of the public distribution system for food and other essential commodities in the state. She also faced threats after she reported on the factional rivalry within an armed underground group in two districts of the state. The office of Arunachal Times was ransacked on April 15 this year, with the assailants remaining at large.

The National Federation of Newspaper Employees (NFNE) has also strongly condemned the attack on Rina.In a statement, NFNE zonal secretary Nava Thakuria argued that mediapersons remain vulnerable in Arunachal after Assam.Thakuria urged chief minister Nabam Tuki to take stern action against the miscreants so that journalists can function in a fearless situation.The NFNE also extended its support to the Arunachal Pradesh Union of Working Journalists and the Arunachal Press Club for their protest program against the attack on the activist.

The South Asia Women in Media (SAWM), while condemning the incident, said that attacks on media were not new in the northeastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.Three months ago, the office of the newspaper in which Rina worked was vandalised by a group of 10 intruders. One-and-a-half years ago, two women reporters, Appu Gapak and Nyapi Bomjen, of The Sentinel Arunachal, were attacked by local police in Itanagar while on an assignment. Despite strong evidence and a case being registered, the guilty have still not been punished.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people today staged a protest rally in Itanagar and submitted a memorandum to chief minister Nabam Tuki demanding immediate arrest of the culprit.The rally was an outcome of a forum, 'Justice for Tongam', which was created by Facebook friends and fans of Rina.


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