Imphal: The Editors Guild of India (EGI) said it is “disturbed by the registration of First Information Reports (FIRs) by the Manipur Police against the President of the Guild as well as the members of the fact finding team that had visited Manipur to study and document media’s coverage of ethnic clashes in the state.”
In its report issued on September 2, the EGI said that biased media, anti-tribal policies and comments of the N Biren Singh government and the internet ban had all exacerbated the situation in Manipur.
The Guild had also said that the “Imphal media had turned into Meitei media” referring to the alleged bias among reporters working for news channels in the Imphal Valley.
The Manipur government took strong exception to their report and the Police subsequently filed cases against members of the fact-finding team.
“The Guild is further shocked by the intimidatory statements made by the Chief Minister of Manipur, Mr N Biren Singh, in response to the report,” a statement by the EGI said.
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“The Guild is extremely disturbed that rather than respond to the concerns raised in the report in a meaningful way, the state government has registered FIRs invoking multiple provisions of the IPC. The Guild has already acknowledged and corrected an error that was pointed out regarding a photo caption, and we remain open to further discussion. However, the Chief Minister’s labelling of the journalists body as “anti-State” and “antinational” is deeply disturbing, especially given the way the Union Government has emphasised the country’s democratic credentials as well as the spirit of freedom of speech at the global stage for the upcoming G20 summit,” the Guild said in a statement.
In response to the FIRs, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum, the Press Club of India, and the Mumbai Press Club have backed the EGI and criticised the Manipur government.
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