FIR against Editors' Guild of India team for 'biased' report on Manipur violence
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A legal complaint has been lodged against three individuals from a fact-finding team funded by a crowdsourcing initiative from the Editors’ Guild of India. The team had visited Manipur to investigate the media’s coverage of an ethnic conflict. The allegations assert that the team’s submitted report is “untrue, contrived, and financially supported.”

The Editors’ Guild of India alleged in their report on Manipur’s ethnic violence, that Manipur journalists wrote one-sided reports and the internet ban had a deleterious effect on journalism as it directly impacted the ability of journalists to communicate with each other, their editors and their sources.

“It (the internet ban) also affected the media because local news gathered without any communication links was not sufficient to give a balanced view of the situation, and often, even that was not enough to fill their pages or meet their news requirement,” the EGI report said.

“The state government has filed an FIR against the members of the Editors’ Guild, who are trying to create more clashes in Manipur,” Chief Minister N Biren Singh said today.

The FIR lodged by Imphal-based social worker Ngangom Sarat Singh has ignited a discussion about the media’s role in covering sensitive subjects. There are differing opinions on whether the media should adhere to stricter accuracy standards, particularly when reporting on conflict areas. On the other hand, some argue that the media should have the freedom to cover all aspects of a story, even if it means occasional errors.

The All Manipur Working Journalists Union, AMWJU and Editors Guild Manipur, EGM, also took strong exception to the “half-baked so-called fact-finding report of the Editors’ Guild of India, EGI, completed in merely four days.”

In a statement, the bodies said the EGI report has “many contentions and wrong representations which are damaging to the reputation of the journalist community in the state, especially Imphal-based news outlets.”

The Editors’ Guild of India had said that Imphal media houses had turned into Meitei media houses, a claim that the AMWJU and EGM disagreed with.

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“The AMWJU and EGM do acknowledge there were shortcomings in its reportage of the events in the state, but these were because of unavoidable constraints, such lack of contact on account of the internet ban as well as the hard division of territories accessible to reporters belonging to the communities in conflict. AMWJU and EGM also acknowledge there were silences maintained by the Imphal-based media on certain incidents too but these were also self-censorships to avoid escalation of dangerous emotions among the warring parties. Journalists on the other side of the current divide too would be facing the same constraints and compulsions, but the EGI does not seem to think so,” their statement said.

The EGI report, despite facing criticism for inaccuracies, has also earned praise for its valuable insights into the ethnic conflict in Manipur. The report sheds light on the intricate and sometimes tumultuous history of the conflict, offering a nuanced perspective on the various viewpoints involved.

ALSO READ | Biased media, internet ban made Manipur violence worse: Editor’s Guild report

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