The Home Ministry has finally reacted to a series of reports that were recently published in The Assam Tribune. The report that compelled the Home Ministry to finally speak up was published in the newspaper on September 3. The report said that all the journalists coming from countries outside of India have been asked by the government to leave the state. A female reporter from a foreign media agency was allegedly also escorted by the Assam police to the airport and forced to take the next flight to Delhi. This information was made available to The Assam Tribune by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of South Asia. The newspaper reported that so far media restrictions had been imposed only in Jammu and Kashmir and some select states of the Northeast but now Assam too had been added to the list of states that were restricting journalists from abroad to come and report from the state. This development came in the list of the announcement of the final list of the NRC and the publication of a wide number of reports in the foreign media that were extremely critical of the move.
The Ministry of Home Affairs clarified that in no region of Assam was the foreign media restricted or journalists had been banned, they were only required to obtain permission from the government before doing any assignments for the respective media agencies. The Ministry went ahead and posted its clarification on Twitter.
It claimed that The Assam Tribune had published a misleading report and that no such restrictions had been put on foreign journalist reporting from Assam.
The Ministry went ahead to publish another tweet where it said that any journalist whether from India or from abroad could report from the state of Assam after taking due permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs. The state of Assam has come under the scanner and is being extensively reported by the international and national media after the release of the final list of the National Register of Citizens(NRC) on August 31. The exercise in question was meant to document Indian citizens in Assam and has resulted in leaving out about 19 lakh people and effectively making them foreigners in their own nation. Many of Assam’s citizens faced large degrees of uncertainty and anxiety as their names were missing from the list or the names of some family members were included while some others were left out.