NEW DELHI, April 17 - Amidst intense electioneering, the Centre has directed the Assam government to take action against several media organisations, including TV news channels and a news portal, for allegedly propagating militant ideologies through their platforms and provoking the youth to join militancy.
According to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on the recommendations of the Union Information Technology Ministry has ordered a probe into the alleged role of four Assam-based media outlets.
“The Union Home Ministry has ordered Assam Home Secretary Ashutosh Agnihotri and Assam DGP Kuladhar Saikia to investigate these media outlets and their owners for their role in spreading militant ideologies and actively assisting fresh recruitment of Assam youth in banned militant groups by running loud media propaganda,” sources said.
The MHA has told the Assam government to take action and inform the complainant directly. The investigation was ordered in response to a complaint by rights body Legal Rights Observatory (LRO), sources in the North Block said.
A top executive of one of the media organisations requesting anonymity admitted to having received a letter from the ministry concerned. The LRO, however, could not be contacted for confirmation.
The LRO complaint alleged that during the recent outcry in Northeast India over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) issue, many media houses based in Assam started reporting that militant group ULFA has launched a fresh recruitment drive in the State exploiting the unrest.
In its complaint, the rights body sought investigation into the role of four Assam-based media organisations and their owners, their financial transactions, sources of income, and possible flow of funds from foreign intelligence agencies and banned militant groups.
The LRO alleged that the media organisations directly broadcasting videos and propaganda material of newly inducted militants in battle fatigue helped propagate militant ideology giving a fresh boost to the ULFA and other militant outfits.
“If the government continues to ignore their blatant, violent propaganda, it will continue to create new militants with fresh blood in Assam and situation will worsen during Lok Sabha elections,” the LRO complaint stated.