Imphal: In yet another agitation within this month, print and electronic media houses in Manipur, under the aegis of the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Editors Guild of Manipur (EGM), have announced a 48-hour cease work strike starting Friday 6 am, against the threat of unknown miscreants.
The decision was taken on Thursday during a joint emergency meeting of AMWJU and EGM, following another threat received by local daily news publication Poknapham this month by an underground outfit.
Earlier on February 13, a hand-grenade was lobbed at the front office of Poknapham and its sister publication People’s Chronicle, which led to state-wide agitation by media houses that remained closed for three days in protest of the threat against press.
In solidarity with Poknapam, employees of various media organisations across Manipur staged a sit-in-protest at the Manipur Press Club in Imphal, demanding clarification of the threat to the media house within the next 48 hours.
The emergency meeting also decided to seek assistance from civil society organisations as the state media continues to face and receive constant threats from various forces.
The media body said the state government and police are yet to arrest the culprit(s) even 10 days after the hand grenade incident that was reported from the offices of Paknapham. It has appealed to the concerned authorities to arrest the culprit(s) involved in the case as soon as possible.
Meanhwile, Imphal (West) Deputy Commissioner Naorem Praveen Singh appealed to the state media fraternity operating in the district to not cease work and protest. He assured the fraternity that the district police have put in all possible effort and investigations are on in full swing to nab the miscreants.
“Media is considered to be the fourth pillar of democracy and there is always the need to keep the general public informed about the happening around, more so in the wake of COVID-19,” the district magistrate said in a statement.
“Journalists are known for fearlessness and upright for the good cause of the people and in view of which, it is expected that they keep on performing even under such situations as happening to the particular media house,” he said.
Singh added that putting the pen down and a stop on publication and circulation of news leads to deprivation of information on issues and events are affecting public life and causing inconveniences to the public at large.