SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling was addressing media persons on July 19 when EastMojo correspondent Pankaj Dhungel tried to ask him a question

Guwahati: If a member of a political party starts giving political lecture in the name of addressing a press conference, then who will raise the voice to put a brake on it and request the leader concerned to speak on the main issue? Obviously, the journalists attending the meeting will do so.

However, at a press conference held at the headquarters of the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) in Gangtok on July 19, the leaders addressing the media felt it otherwise. So much so that the journalist, Pankaj Dhungel, who works as the correspondent for EastMojo in Sikkim, was openly asked to leave the room.

This is nothing but an example of attack on journalists and a direct attempt to end the freedom of the press.

On July 19, SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling invited media persons for a press conference and accordingly, the programme started around 2 pm. EastMojo journalist Pankaj Dhungel also took his seat.

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EastMojo believes that since COVID-19 has taken a serious turn, people in the state wanted to know answers of some questions from the spokesperson of the ruling party in the state.

After speaking about some current issues, including COVID-19, SKM spokesperson Jacob Khaling started giving a long political lecture on Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), which was not expected during the press conference.

When Dhungel requested Khaling to come to the main point, as he had some questions to ask to the ruling party on COVID-19 related issues, he was humiliated in front of everyone and was asked to leave the room, if he wanted.

The matter didn’t just end there. Some of the SKM leaders and supporters have even started giving political colour to the whole issue alleging that the EastMojo journalist was a ‘plant’ from the opposition SDF.

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If gently reminding a political party member to stick to the main agenda without wasting precious time of a press conference by a journalist is a crime, then who will bell the cat? Is anyone listening?

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