All India Radio Imphal (AIR Imphal) is one of the most prominent Public Broadcast Service Providers in the region, functioning under Prasar Bharati Act 1990. The recent foray to the Campus of the sanctum sanctorum of Communication and mass media is a mater of serious concern. This is the second instance of animosity towards this broadcast station, as the earlier minatory grenade blast in AIR Imphal campus had taken place in the late 1990s. At the time, even this writer was in his job in this electronic media establishment. What still amazes the writer is, how and why AIR Imphal attracts the ire of a group or an individual assailant, despite the fact that AIR Imphal’s service commitment is to cater information needs of the state citizenry. The writer’s earnest appeal to all the right thinking people in the state is that they must be singularly aware of the fact that AIR Imphal’s sole objective is to serve the news-hungry masses of modern times and that this electronic media establishment must be left unharmed.
To be precise about the genealogy of broadcasting in India, “Radio” took shape during the “Raj”. It was at the beginning of the 1930s, that the erstwhile Indian State Broadcasting Service was baptized as All India Radio, AIR in short, by Lionel Fielden, a senior executive of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) who came to India as the first Controller of Broadcasting in India. He was a polymath and he could be aptly known as the “Father” of All India Radio, (AIR).
The incident in AIR Imphal complex in the twilight hours of Nov. 21 evening was indeed an onslaught not only on the electronic media or broadcast journalism, but also an act of subversion on the intelligentsia, who are the conscience keeper in our society. The uncomplimentary act of the group or individual has indeed outraged the community of intellectuals, academics, scholars, officials and administrators, politicians, commonman and most importantly the stalwarts of public opinion.
After the implementation of Prasar Bharati Act 1990, AIR functions as an autonomous broadcast entity and AIR Imphal is very much a part and parcel of this paramount organization. It is dedicated to the righteous cause of dissemination of information and education, knowledge of art and culture, music and dance, science and technology, classical languages, environmental awareness and every aspect of human resources development, which are the foremost ingredients of AIR’s broadcast mannerism.
Since All India Radio (AIR) is obviously a national asset, any ruling dispensation in Manipur must take a distinct responsibility to sagaciously utilize the viable services of AIR Imphal pertaining to the interest of the people of Manipur without discrimination of cast and creed, while enhancing development and progress and widespread social harmony and tranquility among various sections of communities of the state. Rather, it is the basic need of the hour in Manipur. AIR distinctly belongs to the group of the Fourth Estate, which is one of the four identical pillars of a democratic Establishment. This being the reason, the ruling dispensation is Manipur is bound to take utmost care for the well-being and safety AIR Imphal. Nevertheless, the discourteous attitude that the ruling dispensation meted out to AIR Imphal, while the public broadcaster was in a state of shock due to diabolic threat from unknown quarters could be seen as lack of wisdome and brazennesson the part of the state machinery.
The writer cannot but praise the worthiness of AIR Imphal officers and every staff member who have vehemently expressed the true colour of irresponsibility of the state authority by organizing a “dharna”. In a recent broadcast from AIR Imphal after the tragic episode a spokesperson of the Public Broadcaster spelled out her resentment about the attitude of Ibobi government remaining a mute spectator, when AIR Imphal needs every sort of help and assistance. Ultimately, sources say that wisdom has prevailed on state deputy chief minister in charge of home, Mr. Gaikhangam Gangmei. He was courteous enough to have come down to AIR Imphal Station and express regret on behalf of his government and also consoled the threat-ridden AIR Imphal’s official community. Mr. Gaikhangam being himself a seasoned politician and experienced administrator had virtually taken the role of the trouble shooter at such a critical juncture of a likely show-down between AIR Imphal and the state authority. His gesture of expressing a word of forget & forgive to AIR Imphal must be seen and also understood in its right perspective.
(The writer is a former broadcaster of AIR Imphal. He can now be reached at [email protected])
Source: Imphal Free Press