Patricia Mukhim resigns from Editors Guild of India

Patricia Mukhim resigns from Editors Guild of India alleging the Guild defends only 'celebrity' editors/anchors

Patricia Mukhim. Credit: Twitter.

Miffed over alleged silence of the Editors Guild of India regarding Meghalaya High Court's recent ruling over a Facebook post against her, veteran journalist and editor of Shillong Times, Patricia Mukhim resigned as a member of the Guild alleging that it defends only the "celebrity" editors/anchors.

In her resignation letter to the president of Editors Guild of India, Seema Mustafa on Monday, Mukhim, a Padmashree awardee rued that the Guild was silent to the High Court order against her but responded with "alacrity" and issued a statement is the support of Arnab Goswami, a non-member, who was arrested not on grounds of journalistic pursuits but on abetment to suicide case. Mukhim said that she had shared the High Court's order with the Guild hoping that it would issue a statement condemning the order. 

"I see this as a classic case of the Guild playing to the gallery to defend celebrity editors/anchors whose voices matter while choosing to deliberately ignore a plea (unstated) from one of its members. Clearly this is also a case of prejudice and a deliberate attempt to push those in the margins even further away so that they disappear completely from the national discourse (since the Guild is a national association of editors) and leave them to deal with the matter in their personal capacity," Mukhim said in her resignation letter. 

Meghalaya High Court on November 10 rejected Mukhim's plea to quash an FIR filed by a Dorbar Shnong, the traditional local body in Meghalaya against the editor's Facebook post on July 4 this year condemning attack on nine "non-tribals" by a group of alleged tribals at a place called Lawsohtun on July 3. Mukhim said that the victims were attacked with iron rods resulting in head injuries for playing basketball in a "tribal majority" area.

Mukhim had questioned the Dorbar Shnong of the area and even tagged Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma seeking action against the attackers. 

The single bench of the High Court judge, however, ruled that it found Mukhim guilty of creating communal disharmony – a crime under Section 153 CrPC.  

"As such, it is no longer tenable for me to be part of this hallowed group of editors whose loyalties are to those that occupy a certain elite space. In fact, I feel completely out of place; almost an outlier in the Guild," Mukhim said while requesting Mustafa to accept her resignation.

Mustafa was yet to respond to a text message from DH for a reaction regarding Mukhim's resignation and the allegations.