A memorandum was submitted during a sit-in staged at Keishampat street, today. Representatives of the journalist met Governor Najma A Heptulla on the issue.
A copy of the memorandum was submitted to each of the President of India Ram Nath Kovind, Press Council of India, Indian Journalists’ Union and the Governor.
The memorandum stated that the media in Manipur has plunged into a highly imperiled situation with the journalists’ free and unbiased versions and opinions to shape the society continued to be gagged by the people in power.
It highlighted the incident that compelled the union to come out in the streets to protest against the excesses of some leaders of Manipur unit BJP which is ruling the state.
On November 24 Shamjai, along with two others – a BJP MLA and an academician – had delivered their views as panelists on the topic ‘VIP culture in Manipur” during a daily discussion session hosted by ISTV, a local television network service.
During the discussion, the union president dwelt on the ugly faces of VIP culture in the nation in general and the state in particular, stated the memorandum copy.
Despite the commendable efforts having extended by the Prime Minister to end VIP culture in the country, some leaders of the state unit BJP have taken security escorts mentioned president Shamjai.
During the discussion, our president mentioned the names of such Manipur unit BJP leaders who have been given security escorts. They included vice president Ashnikumar Moirangthem, spokesperson RK. Shivachandra, secretary K. Sharat and Jadumani Singh.
Of them, Shivachandra, Ashnikumar and Jadumani contested and lost in the last assembly election held in March this year on BJP tickets from Keishamthon, Thanga and Thoubal assembly seats.
Samjai did not demand the government to pull out the security escorts from them. Without any prejudice and ill feeling, he simply questioned the rationale behind granting the security escorts to the BJP leaders, stated the memorandum.
On November 30 Shivachandra called up Samjai over the phone and threatened him for naming in the list of the BJP leaders who obtained security escorts. Shivachandra also used crude and defamatory language against him.
AMWJU, in its press statement issued on December 1, strongly condemned the excesses and autocratic nature of Shivachandra. The union, while terming it as an attack to the sanctity and independence of the media, also maintained that Shivachandra should take total responsibility if anything happens to Samjai.
Much to the surprise, Shivachandra made a post on his facebook account defaming Samjai on the same night. He even used highly objectionable language enough to assassinate Samjai’s character, an unbecoming and immature version of a leader of a political party that rules both the centre and the state.
In a media conference held at BJP lmphal office on December 3, Shivachandra and Sharat threatened to file a defamation suit against our president if he fails to tender apology on what he had stated against them during the discussion on VIP culture, added the memorandum.
An emergency meeting of the standing committee of AMWJU convened yesterday resolved that the union will fight collectively against those unprincipled leaders to preserve and strengthen the sanctity and the independence of the press.
The journalist union requested the Prime Minister for necessary action against the alleged unprincipled individuals in the earliest possible time in the interest of safeguarding the true essence of democracy and the media’s freedom.
Source: Imphal Free Press