IMPHAL, April 6: A joint delegation of the All Manipur Working Journalists` Union and the Manipur Hill Journalists` Union led by the AMWJU president, Wangkhemcha Shamjai met with the Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and briefed him about the concern of the journalists of the State particularly of the journalists working in Ukhrul district on the incident of manhandling and obstruction from performing their duties covering Students’ Peace Rally in Ukhrul district on March 29, 2014 by the police escort party of the Superintendent of Police, Ukhrul, S Selvan.
The AMWJU and MHJU highlighted the action of the SP as a direct assault to the freedom of Press and requested the Deputy Chief Minister to warn the concerned officer not to repeat such action and also respect the freedom of the press and tender an apology for their action committed against the journalists who were only performing their duty as representatives of a responsible fourth estate.
The Deputy Chief Minister termed the March 29 incident in Ukhrul as unfortunate and expressed his regret. Acting swiftly, the Home Minister, called up the Director General of Police and inquired of the incident and advised the DGP to take personal interest in addressing the concerns of the journalists and pulled up the errant SP and his personnel who acted against the freedom of the Press and threaten to affect the cordial relations that exist between the Manipur Police and the Press in the State.
He also advised the DGP to instruct the Ukhrul SP to make amend and reach a settlement with the journalists, particularly the Ukhrul based journalist as soon as possible. The Home Minister also assured the delegate that such incident that goes against working of a healthy democracy should not be repeated in the future and promised swift action against those who commit such irresponsible acts against the Press.
The Joint Delegation of the journalists of the State while appreciating the swift action of the Deputy Chief Minister however resolved to further agitate if the errant SP fails to admit his mistake and tender an apology.