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Media houses have to disclose source if asked for: Meghalaya Police

Guwahati-based portal on the dock over news about Mukul Sangma

SHILLONG: The Meghalaya Police department maintained that there is no journalistic privilege or any codification that prevents media houses from disclosing their source of information as and when required.

A statement of the police came following a report by Guwahati based news portal which mentioned about the CLP leader, Mukul Sangma joining BJP. The news portal criticised the statement of the police demanding source of information.

Following this, the police issued another statement on Wednesday and said that the remarks by the Editor-in-Chief of the news portal is uncalled for, as the only aim of the notice under section 91 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 was to ascertain the authenticity of the information, which has been denounced as misinformation with criminal, malafide and defamatory intent by the Leader of the Opposition himself.

The news portal pointed out that as per Section 91 in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, summons to produce a document happens in case of any registered criminal case. The news portal went on to state that no criminal case has been registered in this matter.

The police went on to state that the news portal statement is however abridged when compared to the true definition of section 91 Criminal Procedure Code, 1973.

The Police stated that “Whenever any Court or any officer in charge of a police
station considers that the production of any document or other thing is
necessary or desirable for the purposes of any investigation, inquiry, trial or
other proceeding under this Code by or before such Court or officer, such
Court may issue a summons, or such officer a written order, to the person in
whose possession or power such document or thing is believed to be, requiring
him to attend and produce it, or to produce it, at the time and place stated in
the summons or order.”

The police further said it was significant to point out that, the matter in contention was under inquiry as the publishing of the report/alarming news contains rumors which
may incite hatred or ill-will between different communities, which is apart from
the intent to defame the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Mukul M. Sangma.

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