By Heigrujam Nabashyam
Sample the following clippings from the All India Radio, Imphal ‘Manipurida pao’ – news –
(1) 07:30 a.m.; December 22, 2010 : “Although he (I. Hemochandra Singh, M.L.A. of Singjamei a/c) is young, he is quite a senior member”
(2) 07:30 a.m.; December 23, 2010: “Although I was not present in the Assembly, it is quite heartening to find that despite his age, Hemochandra’s performance as the Speaker is excellent and he is promising.”
(3) 07:30 p.m.; December 29, 2010: “The Chief Minister, O. Ibobi Singh has said that the Manipur Land Reforms Act is not extended to the hills to protect the tribals from exploitation by the advanced people from the valley and others.”
(4) 07:30 a.m.; December 30, 2010: “The Chief Minister, O. Ibobi Singh has said that Manipur Land Reforms Act should be extended to the hills.”
(5) 07:30 a.m; Date not remember : “The Chief Minister, O. Ibobi Singh should be given 8 to 9 out of 10 for his good performance.”
Radio, we all know is a mass media available free of cost. We only need a transistor which is available in the market for a few hundred rupees. It can be taken in the pocket even while one goes hiking or attending to some sort. This has made radio the true friend of the local populace.
Undoubtedly one important function of the radio is to disseminate information to the general public of what is happening around them and the world over. Incidentally I must confess that I miss the ‘Manipurida pao’ often, but I had the privilege to listen to some of the brilliant ideas and opinions from some experts; and also some excellent news items in the ‘Manipurida pao’ broadcast by the Akaaspani Imphal at 07.30 a.m./p.m.
Talking of the media and its impact on the minds of the public; the recent revelations of the Niira Radia tapes – Radia a top lobbyist whose clients reportedly include leading industrialists Rata Tata and Mukesh Ambani – cannot but be remembered. Because the tapes expose popular media personalities Burkha Dutt, NDTV editor and Vir Sanghvi, India Today editor of their iniquitous activities of speaking and lobbying for certain politicians.
However such venality is not new nor is Manipur an exception. But such things are done discreetly and therefore it has not come to in the public domain. Now, thanks to phone tapping – a serious violation of privacy and personal rights of an individual – it has become hot news!
Now, whatever Burkha Dutt or Vir Sanghvi say in their glib talks to defend their collusion with Niira Radia, not everyone can be fooled to believe that their actions are part of their jobs. One may remember that Dutt reportedly spoke and Sanghvi doctored his article to favour the 2G Spectrum scam-minister during the allocation of portfolio in the second Manmohan Singh government.
Coming to Akaaspani Imphal, ‘Manipurida pao’ at 07:30 a.m./p.m.; what do the clippings shown at the beginning of this write-up say ?
The first was a clipping from the ‘Khanna-neinaba’ part of 7:30 a.m. news. It was a remark made by a senior journalist, Irengbam Arun, editor of Ireipak daily, on the eve of the election of the Speaker of Manipur Assembly. When the Ireipak editor felt that the MLA from Singjamei – a candidate – was being treated unfairly in the media because of his young age he tried to clear the air of doubt about the quality and efficacy of the MLA, by qualifying that the Singjamei MLA is a qualified senior member.
The second clipping, was also made by the Ireipak editor after the MLA was elected Speaker. The Ireipak editor expressed his joy and hope that the MLA from Singjamei would become a leader of the land.
There is nothing wrong for a journalist to speak, campaign and lobby for a candidate in private; although there is only a fine line between a private talk in public and his job as a journalist; perhaps discretion is the word! But the two should never get mixed up so blatantly, even if one happens to be his close relative.
What was unfortunate was the editor have not only mixed up his job with politics but had also misused the Akaspani Imphal to speak for his candidate. This is gross disregard of ethics, worse than what Burkha Dutt and Vir Sanghvi did. The senior journalist should have maintained the dignity of a journalist until he calls it a day.
The third and fourth clippings are also quite amusing. Both the clippings belong to the same news, but told in total contradiction in the course of two consecutive days. When the news was read first on December 28, the recorded speech of the chief minister was also played and the news was perfectly in tune with the statement of the chief minister. But when the same news was repeated the next morning, it came out completely opposite. The clippings are self-explanatory!
– Such kind of silly manipulation, – obviously to advantage certain politician, is only condemnable and sickening.
The last clipping belongs to an ‘economic writer’, Dr. D.S. Sharma. The economist made the remark during the ‘Khanna-neinaba’ part of 07:30 a.m. news of Akaspani Imphal.
– The economist probably is too satisfied with himself that under Ibobi Singh rule Manipur makes great economic strides and therefore the expert economist gives Ibobi Singh, the chief minister, the top grade 8 – 9 out of 10, which even Dr. Manmohan Singh or the premier of the fastest growing economy of the world would never be able to claim.
It is really sad. But the truth is in Manipur, decorous suggestions are never listened to. Now, one and all including the Director of All India Radio, Imphal, must understand that Akaaspani Imphal ‘Manipurida pao’ is not a Leikai-gi Chaa-hoten – a local roadside tea shack. It is a powerful electronic media. Shouldn’t we expect some civilized norms from it ?
Perhaps Delhi is too far from Imphal and what is happening in the Akasspani Imphal – ‘Manipurida pao’ and Manipuri news division – is unintelligible to Prasar Bharati and therefore the rot!
Now witness the exclusive platform : ‘Khanna-neinaba’ platform, a part of the Manipuri news given to an expert – wonder since when ! – everyday at 07:30 a.m. for 5 minutes or so which gives the expert unrestrained liberty to criticize anybody, or sing paean for someone or tell mundane stories to the Manipuri speaking world, etc. It is not too much ? Surely, this needs to be stopped and in its place Akaspani, Imphal may go for ‘a look at’ the day’s papers like All India Radio, Delhi. And who can do this – the Director General of Prasar Bharati, who is too far from Imphal!
It would be a welcome move if His Excellency the Governor of Manipur would care to look into the matter and cause to stem the rot in service to the nation.
Author is ex-candidate, Singjamei Assemby Constituency, Manipur.