Manipur media fraternity protests against militant threats, halts news publication
Publication of daily papers and airing of news by TV channels was halted on Wednesday as a mark of protest against militant threats and diktats.
Strongly voicing against the pressure on media mounted by a militant group for publication of news relating to the outfit, the media fraternity in Manipur staged a day-long sit-in protest in Imphal Wednesday. It called for respect to freedom of Press and urged militant groups in the state against intimidating the media.
The protest, jointly organised by the All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) and Editors Guild Manipur (EGM), was held in front of the Manipur Press Club, Imphal. And, the publication of news by all media houses, including electronic media, was halted on Wednesday.
The decision to hold the protest against militant diktats was taken by the All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU) and Editors Guild Manipur (EGM) in a joint meeting convened late Tuesday. The AMWJU and EGM then decided to cease publication indefinitely in protest against the pressure mounted on media houses by a certain militant group for the publication of the news related to the group.
However, before the holding of the protest on Wednesday, an emergency general body meeting was held at the Press Club, Imphal, and the media fraternity unanimously resolved to resume publication from Thursday. The meeting also decided not to entertain any news relating to the particular outfit until their internal crisis was resolved.
The protest was carried out with media persons holding placards with slogans such as “Respect the freedom of press”, “Do not intimidate the media” and “Stop interfering in the freedom of press”, among others.
Recently, media houses in the state came under immense pressure from a militant group with regards to publication and non-publication of news related to the outfit. "It is the fallout of an internal crisis within the outfit," said an AMWJU member who declined to be named, speaking on the sidelines of the protest.
The media and the freedom of the press in Manipur, a state with over 20 militant groups of the diverse existing communities, often suffer militant threats and attacks. Often militant groups mount pressure for publication of news related to them and ban coverage of certain news.
Condemning the attack on the freedom of press by militant in the form of threats and diktats, the Manipur media held one of the biggest protests in 2000 and halted newspaper publication for more than 10 days.