Kohima: In a first of its kind, members of the fourth estate boycott an event organized by the state government to honor the governor of the state. The Kohima Press Club (KPC), on Tuesday boycotted the state farewell programme of the outgoing governor of Nagaland RN Ravi to show their resentment.
Ravi, who took charge as the state’s 19th governor in 2019, refused to interact with the media despite numerous approaches made by the scribes, held no record of press interactions, either as governor or as interlocutor.
“RN Ravi, as Governor of Nagaland, has not only ignored the working journalists, but also the KPC and the Nagaland Press Association. The Raj Bhavan under him has also denied interviews to not only local media houses but national news agencies whose correspondents are our own members,” KPC President Alice Yhoshü said.
All members of the KPC unanimously decided to boycott the ceremony scheduled at 6PM on Tuesday at the state banquet hall at the chief minister’s residential complex. On behalf of the Club, Yhoshü also wrote to the editors of all media houses in Nagaland.
“The Kohima Press Club is not asking you to boycott or not publish news about Mr. Ravi’s state farewell programme. We leave it to your prudence to decide, but we would deeply appreciate it if our Nagaland-based media houses could show solidarity with the stand that we are taking today. Mr. Ravi’s calculated behavior towards the Press and Media fraternity in Nagaland should not be allowed to become a precedent,” a section of the letter read.
Following the announcement of the transfer of Nagaland governor RN Ravi, senior journalist Kallol Dey had tweeted, “Departure of no other #Nagaland Governor has ever evoked such mixed emotions as that of RN Ravi, an ambitious stint of unprecedented moves & interventions. Journalists in Nagaland will of course remember him for his arrogant dictating of the narrative.”
Reacting to KPC’s decision to boycott the state farewell ceremony of the outgoing governor, Dey said “I am happy that KPC has finally taken a stand on the issue of how Mr RN Ravi did everything to make traditional (Nagaland-based) media all but redundant. This should have been done long ago. Not a single press conference held during his tenure, and complete indifference shown to innumerable requests made by journos belonging both to local media organizations as well as regional and national correspondents based in Nagaland. This is a bad precedent, and it can’t be allowed.”
Dey added: “In the absence of legitimate dissemination of information, particularly regarding sensitive issues like Naga peace talks, fake news and speculations create confusion. Such was the case during the much-hyped solution deadline of Oct 31 2019 – there was fear and confusion amongst the people. Mr. Ravi did a disservice to the people of Nagaland by not addressing the media before or after Oct 31 2019 and thereby keeping the people, the stakeholders, in the dark, and encouraging misinformation, and panic.”
He also recalled how RS Pandey, a former Interlocutor, had invited editors of Nagaland media houses to hear their opinions.
“The attitude of the outgoing Governor (and Interlocutor) towards Nagaland-based journalists can be described as nothing but disrespectful and arrogant,” he added.
Narayan Bahadur, senior journalist with the Press Trust of India (PTI) tells EastMojo, “We are not against the state government. For state-level programmes, even if the media is invited or not it becomes our responsibility to cover and highlight the events. On this issue, I stand with the KPC and resent the negligence of the outgoing governor towards the media during his two years stint”.
Meanwhile, the Centre has assigned Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi to hold additional charge for the state of Nagaland.
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