An Indian television journalist has been detained for criticizing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government on social media under laws intended to ensure national security, leading to protests in the capital, New Delhi.
Kishorechandra Wangkhem was working for a television channel in the northeastern state of Manipur when he uploaded several video clips last month calling the state's BJP chief minister, N Biren Singh, a “puppet” of the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"It is nothing but a blatant abuse of the law and powers of the government," Wangkhem's lawyer, N Victor, told Reuters by telephone. He said he would appeal against his client's detention, with a hearing likely today.
India has one of the world's largest and most diverse media industries, but its journalists often face harassment and violence. The country is ranked 138th in the World Press Freedom Index run by Reporters Sans Frontières - lower than Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Myanmar - as a result of censorship laws and the murder of several journalists.
Wangkhem was initially arrested on separate charges of sedition on November 21, before being released on November 25.
He was then detained on November 27 under India's National Security Act, which allows for detention of up to a year without trial, and has since been held at a jail in the state capital Imphal.