Manipur journalist Kishorechandra Wangkhem

Imphal: Almost a week after Kishorechandra Wangkhem, an Imphal-based journalist, was booked under the National Security Act (NSA) for criticising CM N Biren Singh, the All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) has finally broken its silence over the issue.

It all started when Kishorechandra, a former staffer of the ISTV Network, uploaded a video in which he hurled abuses at the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and the RSS. He was also heard criticising CM Singh over a function organised on the birth anniversary of Rani of Jhansi on November 19. He was arrested after the video went viral on social media.

Check out the video here:

Less than 24 hours after he was granted bail by a CJM court in West Imphal on November 26, following his arrest on November 20, Wangkhem was arrested again on November 27, this time under the NSA.

In a statement, AMWJU president Brozendra Ningomba clarified that Kishorchandra acted in ‘utter disregard’ of the union’s resolutions adopted at its standing committee meeting held in August this year.

He pointed out that as per the resolution, any person working in a media house of Manipur as a journalist or non journalist must face on his/her own consequences of posting/ uploading derogatory, defamatory, illegal, unconstitutional, etc, comment / video on social media that is not connected with the profession of journalism in whatsoever manner, and that AMWJU will not be responsible for it at all.

“His detention under NSA after granting him bail by the CJM of Imphal West doesn’t in any manner change the stand of AMWJU,” he affirmed.

“What Kishorchandra uttered in his selfie video has got nothing to do with the profession of journalism,” said Brozendra, maintaining that a journalist in the unquestionable sense of the profession, who totally respects and practises the ethics of press in letter and spirit, should not be swayed by the political ideology of any party to the extent of spewing venom to spread calumnies against the political party of which guts he/she hates.

What Kishorchandra did is blatant demonstration of his political leaning and bias in the most unacceptable, uncultured and indecent manner. Journalism doesn’t teach you to be indecent, abusive, foul- mouthed, primitive, barbarous, extreme, egocentric, arrogant and demeaning in criticism of the elected government and its leaders. Criticism should be based on free, fair and really democratic manner, he continued. Freedom of press doesn’t mean you can spew all kinds of expletives and profanes against any person, not to speak of CM or PM, he asserted.

“AMWJU, being the apex body of right-thinking and sensible journalist community of the State, doesn’t stand together with any criminal minded and mentally unsound person who acts and talks in the most uncivilised manner in an inebriated condition,” said Brozendro.

Brozendro pointed out that Kishorchandra was arrested by the police in August for a similar “wrongdoing”. AMWJU “sold its neck in trying to get him released, and with its sheer influence under the leadership of its president, after days of tireless efforts, he was released”, he explained.

To gain his release, a delegation of AMWJU had an understanding with the chief minister that after his release, he would be brought to him for a courtesy “forget and forgive” meeting but Kishorchandra flatly refused to oblige the AMWJU, he further said.

Brozendra, who is also the editor-in-chief of ISTV Network, where Kishorchandra previously worked, explained that when he uploaded his offensive and abusive video clips on social media on November 19, he wrote on the same day in some Whatsapp groups that he was quitting the ISTV network.

Soon after seeing the derogatory video on social media, the management of ISTV immediately decided to terminate him from service on the grounds of non-compliance, misbehaviour, insubordination and desertion. “Subsequently he was terminated on the same day (November 19),” said Brozendro.

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