‘Government still has a myopic attitude towards media’


IMPHAL, May 3: Manipur also joined the world in observing the World Press Freedom Day 2016 today even as editors, journalists and publishers are often harassed, attacked and even murdered here.

Every year, May 3 celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom. The event also aims to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to evaluate press freedom around the world.

“For editors and journalists in Manipur, it’s really a very challenging situation they face on a daily basis. Editors just don’t have the right to decide newsworthy,” Hueiyen Lanpao editor Ningombam Hemanta told Newmai News Network on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day.

He said, “Proscribed militant outfits issue 4-5 statements to media houses here every day for publication. It’s almost impossible for us to compress the statement for publication. Diktats are also received from armed groups as well as other social organizations. Where is the press freedom in Manipur?”

“The media here do seem to enjoy only 10 percent of its freedom. The government often tries to impose tougher curbs on media in the name of tackling insurgency. The government still has a myopic attitude towards media,” Hemanta observed.

The pressure on media is often responded with agitation by the state scribes but the working condition has remained the same.

Experts are of the opinion that the diverse state of Manipur always has more than just two sides to any story. According to the editor of the Imphal-based vernacular daily, story on scams and scandals in Manipur is just difficult to publish.

In 1993, unknown men shot dead the editor of Kangla Lanpung. After his killing, five journalists have been shot to death by unidentified gunmen in the state so far.

A senior journalist stated, “It’s imperative for the state media to continue playing watchdog to have critical understanding of the socio-political dynamics of the people in Manipur despite the persisting unfavorable situation.

The World Press Freedom Day also aims to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession. It also serves as a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended an closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.


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