TODAY -

Editorial of the week

Shooting the messenger
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 27th June, 2007



Being an Editor or a reporter of any newspaper in Manipur has today become a very dicey thing for on many occasions, journalists who carry a message from one party or body to the public end up on the wrong side of either the sender or the receiver of the message.

In fact so deeply embedded is this culture that during times of social turmoil or tension between any group of people, the media, particularly the print media has been made the favourite whipping boy by one or the other of the stakeholders in any issue and we would even go so far as to say that the phrase, ‘Shooting the messenger’ is an apt description of the reality surrounding the people who are in the business of disseminating information to the public.

While we do agree that the media in Manipur still has a long way to go, we still believe that the journalists working in the State are today professionals to the core who would not wilfully compromise on the ethics that the calling demands.

This has been demonstrated time and again and at the risk of repeating ourselves we would like to turn back the pages and go to the summer of 2001 when Manipur literally burnt.

While the State literally burnt, it was a test of fire for the media, for a careless word inserted here and there or the wrong choice of word or any let up in editing reports and statements issued by different social organisations at that time could have added fuel to the fire.

Even at that point of time, the print media was accused by many of being partisan and as one of the more popular newspapers in Manipur, The Sangai Express also had to bear with the ignominy of being branded as biased and even communal.

That The Sangai Express is not a biased paper and all the staff of this paper work under the dictum, “Once we are inside the office or on duty, we forget our community affiliations and religious beliefs and view ourselves as journalists, nothing more nothing less.”

This philosophy towards our duty has been proved through the tumultuous period that the State has undergone from time to time. We have provided the platform to all people to air their opinion and only those which take on an extremely communal tone are watered down and presented to the public.

It is perplexing why the numerous social organisations, underground outfits and student bodies always see a conspiracy theory when anything they do not like or subscribe appears on the newspapers.

Sometimes even innocuous mistakes or over sights are viewed upon suspiciously and given this climate, the job of the newsmen becomes all that more complex and demanding. We would however like to make our stand very clear to all concerned.

We are in the profession of journalism not to write to please anybody but to report facts and news stories.

On the other hand we are not in this profession to hurt the sentiments of anyone or any community. Let things be very clear to all.

The people are not fools and any newspaper which is biased will not last long and as professionals engaged in conducting the daily affairs of The Sangai Express we will be the last person to take a biased stand on any issue for that would amount to digging our own graves.

On the other hand it is also time for civil society organisations and student bodies to grow up and stop looking at everything with suspicion and distrust. Do away with the conspiracy theory which seems to have become the calling card of quite a large number of organisations, is our suggestion.

It is only when we remove the wool covering our eyes will we be able to move forward and pave a better future for our children.

Before the media is taken to the guillotine, it would do wise for everyone to shed their pre-conceived notions and yes it would help if civil society organisations work and act on their own wisdom instead of being remote controlled by others.





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