TODAY -
Report reaffirms scribes' woes
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 17, 2010: The Editors Guild of India in a statement issued today has acknowledged plight of the persons in Manipur particularly excesses committed by both State and non-state actors.

The statement issued today and signed by the Guild president Rajdeep Sardesai and its secretary general Coomi Kapoor noted that 'the sentinels of the society' have to perform duties amidst the fear of repression from the State Government and security forces on one hand and the armed outfits on the otherhand hand.

Deeply concerned over the plight of journalists in the trouble torn State, the apex body of editors in the country also called for urgent remedial measures to bridge the growing gulf between the government and the Manipur media.

�Besides the State, the media is under pressure from insurgent groups, especially the splinter elements, as, in Margaret Thatcher�s famous phrase, publicity is the oxygen of terror.

There is a veiled atmosphere of fear in which there is a private voice and public utterance,� said the statement, also revealing that unlike in other States, most of Manipur ministers including that of Information and Broadcasting ministry avoid interacting with the journalists.

Recounting a recent visit by a two member team of the guild comprising Sumit Chakravartty and BG Verghese to Manipur last month, the statement confided of the team submitting a detailed report of the traumatic conditions faced by the media in this conflict zone.

The All Manipur Working Journalists Union had written several letters to the guild highlighting the harassment and pressures faced by Manipur journalists, it mentioned apart from pointing out that State has so far witnessed the killing of five journalists by miscreants in the last few years.

Moreover, AMWJU president S Hemant is informed to have written to the guild urging it to prevail upon the Government of Manipur to take necessary action against those responsible for the killing of Konsam Rishikanta Singh.

The 22-year-old journalist, who worked for The Imphal Free Press, was shot dead by unknown assailants at Langol area in Imphal West district on November 17, 2008. The state government has so far failed to either identify or book the perpetrators.

Media fraternities in the state even suspect the involvement of the security forces in some of the killings, the Guild statement maintained while recommending establishment of regular informal meetings between senior editors and journalists with the CM, official spokesman, Chief Secretary, DGP, and elements of the Unified Command jointly so as to restore confidence and bring about a rapprochement.

It also suggested setting up a media support group of academics, former administrators, erstwhile security personnel, respected political figures, jurists, professionals and NGOs in Imphal and elsewhere in Manipur.

The Guild further observed that professional bonding between the state journalists and media group all over the country through internships could impart mutual strength and solidarity to both the local and national media.


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