TODAY -

Laying down certain facts for all : Reducing media to punching bags
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: August 07 2015 -



The newspapers in Manipur have seen it all.

The mass uprising against the extension of the ceasefire between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India to the soil of Manipur in 2001, the days of street protests after the battered and bullet riddled body of Th Manorama was recovered in 2004, the outpouring of people’s anger after the killing of Rabina and Sanjit in 2009, the strong public protest staged after actress Momoko was allegedly molested in 2012 and the ongoing movement to demand the implementation of the Inner Line Permit System in Manipur.

These are just some examples that come to mind and during all these tumultuous days, the media in Manipur have been faithfully covering the events and delivering news at the gate of each and every newspaper subscribers in the State.

Moreover, the people too will remember how the media here braved days of curfew, bandhs, blockades and other restrictions to deliver the day’s reports to the people.

On the other hand, there have been times when the media had to shut down and the people must still remember the periods when there were no newspapers to go through.

Not repeating a point, but in all these cases earlier, the media had to close shop due to threats and when one of its members were assaulted and targeted.

On August 5, all the newspaper houses closed down for the day, for reasons which must be spelt out here.

To put the record straight, there is no question of the media professionals suspending publication for the day, because the situation had become too uncomfortable for them.

On the contrary, it was more a case of media professionals forced to return home, without discharging their duties.

To put it more clearly, there was just no way the media could have proceeded with the day’s work, when almost every employee of the newspaper houses were barred from going to their work places as well as to collect news.

The Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System has been repeatedly making it clear that in any bandh or movement called as part of the protest, essential services such as the media, health workers including doctors, nurses, ambulances etc, water supply, power supply would be exempted from the purview of the restrictions.

However this is a message that has refused to sink into the consciousness of numerous bandh enforcers who simply refuse to give way to the media professionals.

The result was the inability of numerous employees starting from the editors, the sub-editors, the reporters, the plate makers, employees at the advertisement section, DTP operators, the boys at the distribution section to attend office, leading to the suspension of the day’s publication.

It is also good to remember that when the curfew was in force some days back, the Government issued curfew passes to all media professionals allowing them to move around and discharge their duties.

The media professionals here have faced enough experience to deal with all kinds of professional hazards, but there are times when certain things are beyond their control.

And this fact should not be lost on anyone.



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