IMPHAL, February 18: First hand information to the public can be delivered only with their cooperation. Journalists are also common people who exercise their freedom of speech guaranteed under Article 19(1) for a living.
This was stated by A Mobi, president of the Editors Guild of Manipur while speaking as a moderator in a Consultation on International Humanitarian Law and Right to Life on Tuesday at Noney Bazaar.
The senior journalist said that minor flare-ups between different communities which are routine and inevitable can be controlled before turning out of hand by a little bit of cooperation, he added ‘various ethnic communities in the state are busy fighting one another while the unbridled influx of outsiders continue, encroaching upon our lands.’
“Media acts as the mediator between the different ethnic communities in the state. Media persons have suffered a lot. People need to cooperate as sometimes we have to publish news gathered from secondary sources as they don’t cooperate,” he added.
Basanta Wareppa, an advocate with Human Right Alert, speaking on international humanitarian law and its applicability to international and non-international armed conflict, said: “Law changes with time. The knowledge of international humanitarian law and its applicability to international and non-international armed conflict is rather limited owing to it being a relatively new concept to the people in the state. The government’s evasive act and denial of the existence of an armed conflict has aggravated people’s sufferings but different ethnic communities in the state can ameliorate it by being tolerant and cooperating with one another instead of adding into our collective woes by being communal.
Social activist Majabung Gangmei, the spokesperson of ATSUM, said that under the cover of AFSPA security personnel have committed many excesses such as raping women, killing innocent people with impunity creating an atmosphere of terror.
“People need to cooperate with civil societies as they can help them in their hour of need by saving them from the clutches of security personnel who could kill them off in a fake encounter on a false pretext. At the same time, security forces must also follow the does and don’ts laid down by the Supreme Court,” he added.
John Panmei, president of All Zeliarong Students Union, stated that the entry of big companies have created problems related with land acquisition for people. People are selling off land to private players for a song which they will sell it back on an exorbitant price.
He also suggested that the non-enforcement of provisions in the five and six schedules in Manipur has enabled the Union Government to do as it pleased.