A three-member team of Press Council of India (PCI) will arrive at Imphal on July 4 on a two-day visit to the State, said All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) president Wangkhemcha Shamjai. Speaking to reporters at Manipur Press Club, Shamjai said that the team would look into the problems faced by media persons of the State and meet Chief Minister Okram Ibobi, Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and Chief Secretary O Nabakishore.
He said that Manipur is a strife-torn State and the media fraternity has been facing different challenges not only in collecting news but also in publishing news and press releases. Shamjai said that investigating agencies sometimes enquire the Editors and media houses about the sources of insurgency related news. He said that regarding NIA’s summon of Editors, AMWJU had already made a written complaint to PCI. Shamjai expressed apprehension that such summons would interfere in the freedom of press.
During their visit, Shamjai said that the PCI members will discuss the problems and safety of the State scribes. Seven journalists including one Editor have been killed in the State, he said.
On July 5, the PCI team would address a press conference at Manipur Press Club before they leave Imphal, Shamjai said. He further said that a full session of PCI is likely to be held in Imphal this year. He urged the members of AMWJU to take part in welcoming the PCI team. Regarding distribution of rice, Shamjai said that AMWJU members are unable get rice at subsidised rate after the implementation of National Food Security Act in the State. However, it is unfortunate to receive information from the authority concerned that some persons have fraudulently lifted rice in the name of journalists in connivance with some corrupt officers, he said. Asking the individuals concerned to immediately stop such fraudulent practice as it would tarnish the image of the whole media fraternity, Shamjai also urged the officials concerned not to play divisive game among journalists.
Saying that the union has got an appointment to meet the Chief Minister on June 30, Shamjai said that they would submit a charter of demand to him including development of a memorial site for Thangjam Dwijamani (Nanao), who was shot dead while on duty by the police some years back. He further said that AMWJU is planning to organize an external tour for scribes and also looking forward to conduct a tour to Shillong for women journalists shortly.