Updated: March 4, 2021 6:39:15 pm
Newspaper in Manipur once again failed to hit the stands and news broadcasting was halted Thursday after scribes went on cease-work strike against the threat by militant groups.
This is the third time in less than a month that the media fraternity has resorted to such protest. The latest agitation was carried out six days ago after a local newspaper published in Imphal was threatened by a militant group.
The protest was the fallout of ongoing rivalry between two rival groups which are vehemently opposed to publication of news related to one another. The tussle between the same groups had resulted in a similar protest in November 2020.
“The media fraternity are caught in between the devil and the deep sea. We have no options left but to resort to cease work,” said Khwairakpam Naoba, general secretary of All Manipur Working Journalist Union (AMWJU).
A joint emergency meeting of AMWJU and Editor’s Guild Manipur (EGM) was held Wednesday night after one of the two rival groups issued a press statement, another top functionary of the union said. However, the meeting remained inconclusive when the rival group, as usual, was opposed to publication news related to the outfit who issued the press statement.
On Thursday, the matter was discussed at an emergency general body meeting of the union. The meeting resolved to organise a public convention on the matter along with the participation from civil society organistions of Manipur.
The public convention will discuss the future course of action followed by a protest rally in Imphal.
Media fraternity in Manipur often comes under attack and gets intimidated over the rivalry between different militant factions.
In 1999, H A Lalrohlu, the editor of a local newspaper ‘Shan’ in Hmar dialect, was shot dead at New Saikot in Churachandpur district. Days after the killing, Hmar Revolutionary Front (HRF) owned the responsibility for the act, alleging that he was “working against the interest of the outfit”.
A similar incident occurred in 2000 when a local daily editor Thounaojam Brajamani was gunned down in Imphal. It is said that Brajamani had expressed his views against some “armed groups”. However, the motive behind his killing is still unknown.
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