TODAY -

Reporting in Conflict Situation and Communal Harmony
- Part 1 -

Dr. A. Ibomcha Sharma *



Introduction: The history of laws of war and history of the professional hazards of journalists in an armed conflict situation are often intertwined. Even if the laws of war clearly spared the messengers/peace communicators from time immemorial, they were not absolutely free from the menace of war or armed conflict.

The risk associated with journalists in an armed conflict situation can be traced back to the Vedic Age in Indian context, Saint Narada is a glaring examples of it. Chanting "Narayana, Narayana", he reached to the Gods and to the Demons, informing thereby the ambition and evil designs of war each group planned against the other. He was considered as a trouble monger and many a time had to invite wrath of one section or both and hence had to face the music.

Reporting armed conflicts:

The combatants of an armed conflict try to control and manipulate the media with subtle and no so subtle propaganda and misinformation messages. Sometimes what the military authorities brief during armed conflicts is not news but illusion of news. Information is tightly controlled in such circumstances and for best known security reasons; distortion of news is seen at times.

As the frontline journalists are covering incident after incident, it becomes next to impossible for them to please both the warring parties and sometimes it happens that the group a journalist is embedded with becomes so furious that its armed personnel target him or her in the garb of mistake.

Killing the messengers in the crossfire is a regular case. Taking them into hostage and intentionally targeting them while they were performing their duty of informing the common populace are not rare actions cases.

On the part of journalists also, some of these actions were against their own professional ethics thereby causing irreparable damage to the credibility of the profession.

In an armed conflict situation, both the warring parties try to mould public opinion favorable to them. With that goal in view both try to use the media to their advantage either through persuasion or direct coercion. Herein starts the problem of an independent media trying to cover the prevailing situation in an objective manner.

Covering such situation also raises both moral and professional issues for the journalists. As per journalistic ethics, the fundamental function of the press is to report fairly, accurately and objectively about the newsworthy events. And the news value of an armed conflict is irresistible.

So, there is a great need of reporting the news pertaining to the armed conflict on the one hand and on the other side, the maneuverings of the conflicting parties to use the media to serve vested interests.

Covering militancy and the PCI observations:

In a bid to curtail propaganda of the proscribed secessionists' organizations through local print and electronic media and curb their oxygen of publicity, the government of Manipur clamped an official order on August 2, 2007 under Section 95 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

The order says that any printed material, i.e. either newspapers or books an document whether printed or in electronic form shall be forfeited to the state government if they contain any material which are directly attributed to unlawful organizations, organised gangs, terrorists an terrorists related organizations considered to be subversive an a threat to the integrity of the state and the country.

The order of the State Home Department further forbids obituary notices of slain militants that would be glorifying them as martyrs of a freedom struggle. Publication of threats of any sort by terrorist organizations or unlawful organizations, publications of any code of behavior, dress code of social practice decreed by such organizations, publication of any justification for killings, causing injury, assault, kidnapping, imposition of fines or warnings by such organizations, publication of notices for payment to terrorists related organizations or unlawful outfits in cash or kind and publication of items in the form of invitation to the aforementioned organizations to settle or solve disputes are all altogether banned by the official order.

Opposing the move vehemently, the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU) served an ultimatum to the state administration demanding it to withdraw the suppressing order on or before 9 August, 2007. In a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister, Okram Ibobi Singh, the Union flayed the government of trying to gag the freedom of expression in democratic India by clamping a stringent restriction.

The union further argued that if the order is allowed to prevail the national level television news channels would have to be banned from airing in Manipur and national level newspapers are to be stopped from circulating in the state, and the state will suffer a total cut off of communication from other parts of the country.

The Press Council of India sent one of its members to study and address the genuine grievances of the local journalists of the state in the first week of October, 2007. The PCI member discussed the issue with the AMWJU.

Acknowledging the gravity of the pressure journalists faced in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab (during the height of Khalistan movement) and the Northeast states, the Council conducted an enquiry in 1991 into the pressure the press in Punjab was facing.

A special committee was constituted to examine the problems and its report "Overcoming Fear" was adopted by the Council.205 It extended full support to the press in Punjab in its effort to inform the people truthfully and impartially of the events taking place in their state by reflecting all parties of an event with due care and self censorship and in resisting any diktats from terrorist groups.

In Kashmir also, the Council conducted more than one enquiry. In one enquiry in 1991 that covered both Kashmir and Punjab, the Council accepting its special committee's report "Crisis and Credibility", said the critical importance of information and communication in the complex and difficult situation in the state had not been adequately appreciate either by the government or the media. It suggested a series of measures to respond effectively to the complex situation.

In suggested a series of measures to respond effectively to the complex situation. In 1993-94, the Council conducted another enquiry into the problems facing the press in Kashmir and adopted a report entitled "Threats to the media from militant organizations".

In this report, the Council asked the government to provide institutional and area security to media personnel who faced threat from the militants for taking an independent stand.

To be continued.....


* Dr. A. Ibomcha Sharma, IIS wrote this article for Imphal Times
The writer is News Editor & Head, Regional News Unit, AIR, Imphal
This article was posted on 19th January , 2018 .


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 54 :: Poem
  • Religious education- Part of our life
  • Free Heart Camp at Kakching Bazar
  • Jobs at Gyan Jyoti Foundation
  • Nothing seems change; everything remains
  • Predatory instinct of man: Targeting 'Manipur'
  • Lihaaz- Classical Music at IIT Guwahati
  • Mera Wayungba #1 : Gallery
  • L Modhuchandra : Young Scientist Award
  • Chavang Kut celebrated in Delhi
  • Temple runs for a pilgrim's journey
  • First day of All India Young Writers' Festival
  • Ningol Chakkouba in era of materials
  • Constitutional breakdown in governance
  • Attacked on Environment Defenders
  • Kut festival @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • Karen people's pursuit for survival..
  • Glamorous Maniac & their new single
  • City bus for high end of society- Why not?
  • Youth Leadership Camp at Yairipok
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Of Indian Constitution
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #1 : Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #2 : Gallery
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #1
  • Old Man in the Winter :: Poem
  • Drawing inspiration from Dave Mustaine
  • Condemns attack on Agnes Kharshiing
  • NEUFC Fan Park celebrates
  • Achievement lists of PDA is 'Boring'
  • MPP : Down but not out
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Kwatha Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba: Biggest fest of Manipuri
  • Mizoram Under the British Rule :: Book
  • Dr. Udit Raj: a Crusader
  • Undisclosed #MeToo campaign in Manipur?
  • Drought :: Poem
  • When Money matters, sincerity is out..
  • Detaining two more at Jiribam
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Flash Presentation
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • Chingjaroi, Atengba, Ahongbi :: eMing
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Those Sparks and Sounds
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #2
  • Understanding RSS :: Book Review
  • Cry of a Dying River - 53 :: Poem
  • A take on Freedom of Media
  • Pay of private school teachers
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #2: Gallery
  • Art Festival @ Imphal : Gallery
  • 26 month left to meet AIDS 90-90-90 target
  • Tengnoumanbi- Essential food item ..
  • Dr Abdul Kalam vision of transforming India
  • A Wintry Landscape :: Poem
  • 'Say no to Lead Paints'
  • Completing bigger task
  • Biomedical wastes: Health, ecology at stake
  • NIA files chargesheet against 5 NSCN (K)
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Irony of idea of communal harmony
  • Blood Donation at RGU, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Career opportunities in Ecology #2
  • Down the Country Road :: Poem
  • Change of season: Prepare for winter
  • Govt forgotten promises to improve traffic
  • ATC demand: Setback to pluralistic Manipur
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Descent & inheritance among Zeliangrong
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #3
  • Seminar : Reforming Teaching-Learning
  • Attitude :: Poem
  • Tourism: A key sector in the world
  • NH7 Weekender Meghalaya : Day 2 Report
  • Early solution in Manipur difficult : Army
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #1 : Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang: Suicide prevention
  • Where have all the flowers gone? Khurkhul
  • Engaging Failed State :: Book Review
  • eNorth East Award 2018
  • Song of a Tree :: Poem
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 Kicks Off
  • Unsolved case of Pravish Chanam
  • Imphal Jamboree : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #1
  • A beacon of hope
  • Mishing tribe of Assam
  • Ransomware that made the world cry
  • State Level Painting Competition
  • A suggestion for a strong democracy
  • Issues before Parliamentary polls
  • Kut Festival @ Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • HIV : Gap between research & impact
  • My Tryst With Manipur : A Memoir :: Review
  • Cultural heritage (Kut fete)
  • Bleeding inside Brain treated at SKY
  • Indo-Myanmar Regional Border Meet
  • In Her Arms Of Death :: Poem
  • Pravish Chanam : No Action by CBI
  • Assam Don Bosco : University of the Year
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 in Meghalaya
  • Media that criticize are not your enemy, CM
  • MU limping back to normalcy
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #1: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: Flash Presentation
  • November Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Weavers training for Mamit , Mizoram
  • Diwali Lagao : Mapugidi Munda
  • Career opportunities in Ecology
  • Jobs at Trueblue, Taxi Service, Imphal
  • CM should not let this opportunity out..
  • Where will Oct 31, 2018 stand ?
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #2: Gallery
  • Kut Festival :: Series of Articles
  • Comedian Huirem Manglem passed away
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #2
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Overview of Buddha's teachings on Karmma
  • Technological Globalisation and Manipur
  • Initiate disciplinary action against Police
  • 13th Indo-Myanmar Border Committee Meet
  • .....but traffic is still in mess
  • Obstinately silly or immense clout
  • 'Ethnic Conflicts in Manipur: Issues'
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #2
  • Kangla is like Ayodhya for Meiteis..Sacred
  • Health Care & Status in North East :: Book
  • Speaker List: Imphal Jamboree- Youth Fest
  • Roars of #MeToo to douse the flame of lust
  • A Welcome Change :: Poem
  • Liangmai community performed at NE fest
  • Immature press statement from NDPP: NPF
  • Our expectation from the government
  • October 31 : Rally and bandh
  • Chalwa Village in Kangpokpi #3 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs East Bengal : Gallery
  • Lullaby by This Chord :: Critical Analysis
  • Imphal Jamboree - Youth festival
  • Getting ready for Act East Policy
  • Hey! You're a role model :: Poem
  • Training on Cultivation of Mushroom
  • Yitachu is propagating misguiding facts
  • Naga Talk: Wary yet committed & hopeful
  • Fashion Show: Lamklai Kummoi: Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang : Bereavement
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-2
  • RIST Talk -37 : The Physics of Lunar Dust
  • Cry of a Dying River #51 :: Poem
  • WhatsApp cheating : Unexplained loss
  • Cat :: Poem
  • TSA cautions EMRS School
  • Non-issue turns issue
  • Cong gunning for Governor
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #1: Gallery
  • Sanjenbam Bhanumati Devi : Kavyabhusan
  • Church and climate change
  • Environmental human rights: Its evolution
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #2
  • Incomplete Love :: Poem
  • Beauty benefits of potato
  • The toddler calls
  • UNC : Acceptable to the Zeliangrongs?
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #1
  • Can we end tobacco pandemic ?
  • Experiencing Senapati town
  • City Bazaar :: Poem
  • Share market frauds : Investors at risk
  • When arrogance meets ignorance
  • Let Imphal go with town planning
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #1
  • Chumthang Crafts at European Congress
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #3
  • Regional Rural Banks in NE :: Book Review
  • JRF at Department of Biotechnology, MU
  • The call of the wood :: Poem
  • Free Training for Minorities at JCRE
  • Mechanism for industrialisation
  • Noting efforts to reach out to people
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #1: Gallery
  • Narmada Sougaijam - Natl Konkan Award
  • Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 #2
  • Calling for Interns in Imphal
  • Bizandoo, why they put me at 3 ?
  • 6th North East Festival 2018 at Delhi
  • Senior Project Engineer @R-Square Design
  • Research Support Officer at R-Square
  • Career in Rural Management
  • The unmistakable reflections
  • Politics of Lim divide : Pitching rally & bandh
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba : Unity - hill & valley
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-1
  • Woes of farmers & measures to mitigate
  • A Scarecrow :: Poem
  • New Executive Body of DAMMS
  • National Integration Tour flagged in
  • Benevolence behind the iron fortress
  • Parties to watch in LS polls : Cong Vs BJP
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • Police Day Marathon #2: Gallery
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • MU: Teachers/students released : Gallery
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Lamyanba Irabot- March Past #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS