April 25, 2022 11:43:11 am
Media houses in Manipur said they will boycott all news related to the government and the state unit of the BJP starting Sunday to protest against their failure to clear pending advertisement bills despite repeated appeals.
The boycott came into effect a day after a joint meeting of the publishers, representatives of Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM), All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU), and Manipur Hill Journalist Union (MHJU).
A member of the Editors’ Guild said the boycott came after the government failed to clear the bills even after a series of assurances given by Chief Minister N Biren Singh and chief secretary Rajesh Kumar. The media bodies had suspended an earlier boycott call following the personal intervention of the chief minister and the chief secretary, said the member.
In a joint meeting held on April 15, the Editor’s Guild, AMWJU, MHJU, and publishers asked the state government and Manipur BJP to clear pending advertisement bills by Saturday. After there was no response from the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Manipur unit, it was decided in Saturday’s meeting to go ahead with the boycott.
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In response to the boycott call, journalists abstained from covering events or news related to the government and its department and BJP Manipur among others. Under the boycott, all news related to the Manipur government, the ruling BJP and NPF will not be covered. It will also include all government advertisements, including those of its authorities, corporations like the PDA, LDA among others, said a joint statement issued by the Editor’s Guild, AMWJU, and MHJU.
However, the statement said that the media boycott will not include the offices of the Governor, the Speaker, Covid-19, and pandemic-related news including medical emergencies, and crime-related stories. The boycott will remain effective till the pending bills are paid or an understanding is reached with the parties concerned, added the statement.
Bills running into crores of rupees are pending with the government while bills running into lakhs for advertisements made in connection with the recently concluded Assembly election are yet to be cleared by both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress.
Media houses in Manipur are reeling under financial constraints following the coronavirus pandemic and the rising cost of news production, it stated. As such, it has been appealing to the government to take a sympathetic view of the situation to avoid the confrontation, said the joint statement.
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