Leader Writer : Paojel Chaoba
The functioning of the Media is to disseminate news, to cover events, investigate, observe and to make copy without prejudice. There are no friends or foes and impartiality is the main principle that a publication must bank on for credibility, anything else would border on being unethical.
Truth be told, the media organizations of the State suffers constant harassment from state and non state actors, editors are given death threats and news offices have been ransacked on many incidents in the past. The Media has to walk the tight rope with the precision of an acrobat when there are many shaking both ends of the rope.
When caught between the proverbial Devil and the deep blue sea situation, the ultimate resort of state media is to cease publications and to protest, the fruitfulness of such protests remains questionable on whether justice has been done or not. Past incidents involving media persons being assaulted by police in the aftermath of the July 23rd Khwairmband Bazar incident led to similar protests demanding ‘cleansing’ of the Police Department. After a few days, the home department issued a notice that the SP’s of two districts have been transferred. The Media on the response called off the strike whereas the transfernever actually took place.
The recent incident of arrest of Sanaleibak editor A Mubi on grounds of having links with a certain UG outfit caused an uproar among the journalists’ community of the state. Another 6 days went without publication of newspapers, demanding his unconditional release by the home department. Finally, the editor was released on bail and a General Body meeting held by the journalists approved on the grounds of release. Another decision was taken to boycott news of the achievements of the Police, the Congress and CPI until the charge against the editor has been dropped. The decision remained in effect and programs of the MLAs of the Congress party were not covered, until a recent news about the portfolio reshuffle of Cabinet Ministers made the headlines of all the papers. IFP carried the news in the interest of our readers after finding out that the other papers were going to publish the said news, that was at 1 am in the morning as the news was left out earlier in respect to the decision taken by AMWJU.
The question still stands on the what grounds the news was eligible for publication according to the resolution taken by the scribe’s body. The senior authorities of the journalist’s fraternity would know better and the decision would have been taken in the best of interests.
Still, the media community needs to rethink certain decisions and look before we leap as expected from an intellectual circle of the society. Going headlong into a maze without knowing the way out may somewhat lead to an embarrassing situation. The experience and knowledge of veteran journalists are much valued by all sections and tendered respect accordingly. It will be in the best of interests if we try not to lose that respect.
The conflict situation in the state hardly needs to be addressed, as all sections are suffering and not only the media. As there will certainly be black sheep’s in all organizations, the media too has its own as none is perfect. The elected, judiciary and the executives have theirs too, the media also referred to as the fourth estate and the ‘watchdog of the society’ must sacrifice sentiments on grounds of neutrality and cannot act like a pressure group. Otherwise a situation might arise on the need for someone to watch the watchdog. Manipur is a democratic state and though many wrongs are committed within the system with such black laws as AFSPA, 1958, one must have faith and remember that justice and truth must at last prevail. The cause of Irom Sharmila is the strongest non violent form of protest against the violation of human rights, she has etched her place in the annals of history through her commitment and principles and made her stand against insurmountable odds. The public in respect to her dedication have followed her with faith.
The media needs to introspect that if Sharmila had broken her fast, what would have been the outcome and would the sentiments of the public have remained in such a manner. Everyone has their place and responsibility in the society and the media also needs to act within the journalistic ethics as expected and not always with a “In Rome do as the Romans do” attitude.
Even I couldnt understand the last para that My Paojel trying to put!Seems to me he is quite worried about as a journalist and not being executing the true virtues of journalism.Though he said quite well in other paras!Mr Paojel come and throw some light!
With respect Nazi Germany apart from its black laws was a fully functioning democracy. When Augustus Caesar created rule by emperor he retained all the trappings of Roman Democracy. So yes apart from the black law of AF(SP)A which gives the right to visiting Indian Soldiers and Paramilitaries to rape, pillage, murder with absolute impunity Manipur is a kind of democracy. The kind of democracy where citizens can be raped kidnapped and murdered by the security forces sworn to protect them. And where your Head of Armed Forces General Singh sounds daily in his pronouncements more like a characture general from Dr Strangelove.
There are good signs the Supreme Court yesterday issued requests to the Army to explain their role in the murder a Maoist who had begun peace talks with the Government along with his journalist/interpreter. And the Guwahati High Court has issued another request to the Army to begin some accountability for the gang rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama a Manipuri citizen who as you say enjoyed the kind of democracy that meant she could be gang raped and murdered and the CBI are to this day not allowed to investigate the crime.
I don’t know you tell me after your introspection what would have happened if a standard XII educated Meetei woman had ended her satygraha after five years or seven or ten years. Is there no one else in Manipur with any integrity. Do you know appreciate how slimy you are beginning to sound as a people. Are you all snivelling cowards. I am an old man come beat me up if you want I’ll be visiting for two weeks from Tuesday is that a Manipuri shows his toughness. I’ll spit on you still through broken teeth. She is the Gandhian satyagrahi. There’s nothing nice about me and yet it would take many incarnations for some of you to begin to approach my humanity.
The time for introspection is over children. Time for you to grow up. Irom Sharmila will be assassinated by one of you and the rest will weep crocodile tears at her funeral. Stop introspecting about what one of your women should or should not do. If Manipuri freedom hinges solely on whether Irom Sharmila eats a morsel of bread then you have learnt nothing. You don’t have democratic rights because you don’t want them enough. Or will you continue to hide behind the phaneks of your women and call it introspection. If this is the level of Manipuri intellectual I prefer communicating via silent meditation.
I have less respect for you than I do for the murderers and rapists to whom your democracy grants absolute immunity. Go back to sleep then children. She is not dead yet.