Stop Snooping on the Media

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A constable of Criminal Investigation Department caught disguised as journalist reflects the blatantly intrusive nature of the Home department. However hard the constable might have tried acting like a journalist, he has been exposed. Along with him, his bosses who have supposedly given the instruction have also been exposed. Evidently, he was not acting his part alone. There are more members of his tribe snooping around at the premises of the Manipur Press Club. Let it be known that the more they try to act, the more they will be exposed. Deceiving act of the mole came to light during a press briefing by the volunteers of Joint Committee on implementation of Inner Line Permit system, on August 24. Though the CID constable rallied all his skill in acting, the reporters present in the briefing effortlessly spotted the odd man out. Agreed, the desire and need for intelligence has increased manifold. Great rulers and generals from early period of history relied heavily on their spies. Spying is one of the oldest professions ever known. Author of The Art of War, Chinese general Sun Tzu gave great importance to the role of intelligence. Underscoring that it is necessary to know the enemy beforehand, he wrote ‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear a hundred battles. If you know yourself and not the enemy, for every victory you will suffer a defeat. If you know neither yourself nor the enemy, you are a fool and will meet defeat in every battle.’ The aphorism is equally applicable to statecraft as well. To function smoothly, the State has to keep its eyes and ears open. The State Police’s CID is an important entity to collect information about potentially antagonistic groups or individuals and their activities. With numerous movements and demands that have been raised by social groups in the State, it is obviously the felt need of the administration to ascertain the nature of the movements; their modus operandi and areas of operation etc. This would ensure the State apparatus to be prepared in advance of any possible agitation or campaign, which could turn violent. However, the recent incident of the CID constable impersonating as journalist is an infringement of professional space, and unacceptable in all sense of term. Mingling with the journalist, the constable went on to the length of raising queries during the press meet. What prompted the State to send its spies to monitor the activities of the media? It seems, while performing their ‘intelligent duties’, the authorities have overlooked a certain fact – that the population of the State is not that large like other big States. Without much effort, it is easy to know what games people play. For instance, it is not difficult to ascertain how certain people in the locality manages to build palatial houses overnight; how even petty Government officers can own large amount of real estate properties within a short period of time and the like. The State must recognise the undeniable fact that media and the police row in the same boat. Journalists are not the enemy of the State. And perhaps, the foot soldiers of the State intelligence department and their bosses must read carefully Sun Tzu’s last sentence of the above quote.

Leader Writer: Senate Kh

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