May 2, 2022 8:25:03 pm
The boycott imposed on all government-related news by Manipur media houses in protest against the failure of the state in clearing pending advertisement bills has entered its ninth day with no visible solution in sight.
The boycott came into effect on April 24 following a decision taken by publishers, representatives of Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM), All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU), and Manipur Hill Journalist Union (MHJU).
A member of the Editor’s Guild said the media bodies have not received any official information from the government on the matter even as the protest has entered its ninth day. As such, we have no choice but to continue with the ongoing boycott until our demands are met, he added.
All news related to the Manipur government, cabinet ministers, ruling MLAs comes under the purview of the boycott. In addition, the media houses also refrained from publishing all government advertisements, including those of its authorities, corporations like the PDA, LDA among others.
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The protest was a fallout of the failure of the state to clear the pending 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 just before the state election.
The boycott, however, exempted the offices of the Governor, the Speaker, Covid-19, and pandemic-related news including medical emergencies, and crime-related stories.
It is learnt that bills running into crores of rupees are pending with the government. Initially, the BJP Manipur unit and Manipur Congress were also included in the boycott for not clearing bills amounting to several lakhs for advertisements made in connection with the recently concluded state Assembly election. Later, the boycott was lifted on the political parties after having cleared their pending bills.
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