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Press Clubs defend report; back NEPS editor
Published on 15 Feb. 2011 1:30 AM IST
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Responding to the reaction of the four MLAs of Mon district who had termed its stand against summons issued to the editor NEPS as “dictatorship of the press”, the Kohima press club (KPC) Monday affirmed that it would stand by its earlier resolution that NEPS editor (Oken Jeet) would not meet the MLAs over NEPS news report on possible bifurcation of Mon district into two published in local dailies February 6 last.
Particularly drawing attention to four MLAs’ claim that they did not stop NEPS editor from clarifying his stand, the KPC president K. V Nurumi and general secretary Khriezovonuo Lhoungu in a press release quoted their first statement, which stated: “Shri Okan Jeet Sadham is directed to meet us in person to clarify the news column without any further correspondence in Kohima”.
Also, in response to the allegation of MLAs that “the freedom of the Press did not mean dictatorship of Press,” the KPC said media under no circumstances function like a “dictator”, and that it religiously follows the ethics and norms.
“Rather, the media in Nagaland functions under extreme duress from various quarters who are trying to dictate to their terms,” said KPC members.
It also reiterated that it encouraged debate and discussions on any matter of public importance.
Meanwhile both the Dimapur press club and the Mokokchung press club in separate statements have also joined in slamming the four MLAs for describing the KPC stand as “dictatorship of the press”.
The DPC said certain points mentioned by MLAs have drawn its attention such as “summoning the press” and “dictatorial press”.
“It is in bad taste that the MLAs resorted to summon the press instead of issuing a statement to refute/clarify their stand on the report,” a DPC statement said, and pointed out that press cannot be summoned for filing reports unless the case goes to the court and becomes answerable.
Maintaining that “language and tenor” of MLAs has put across the point that press in Nagaland was functioning in a dictatorial manner, the press club Dimapur said: “The press strives to play its role of a watchdog of the society and the government and to keep the citizens informed.”
It also remarked that “executing this informed role of the press” should not be misconstrued as dictatorship of the press.
Underlining that it placed itself in the role of “a mediator, if needed be,” the DPC appealed to both NEPS and MLAs to resolve the issue in an amicable manner.
Also, in reference to the same issue, the MPC said it has noted the “perfunctory statements” of four MLAs as “ostentatiously autocratic and reprehensible.”
The press club of Mokokchung asserted “vilifying act” of four MLAs to summon or direct a member of the fourth estate to appear before them personally was “authoritarian in nature that has no place in a democracy.”
The MPC also stated that MLAs’ subsequent statement clarifying that their intention had been misinterpreted was not a valid excuse, as summoning NEPS editor spoke volume about their intention of trying to suppress investigative journalism or fourth estate in the state.
Further, quoting the statement of four MLAs that “people have equal rights to correct information and refute false and misleading information,” the MPC said if any, as pointed out by the MLAs, but without flexing their supercilious muscles.
On the remark “freedom of press does not mean dictatorship of the press” by MLAs, the MPC said there were “more conscientious” ways to express one’s views than “stereotype” the press as a whole.
“Press in the state of Nagaland has come of age and such discourteous utterances are an insult to the intelligence of the press fraternity,” MPC said, and affirmed it stood by the decision taken by KPC and also appealed to the MLAs to “assuage their grievances in a mature manner as responsible leaders.”

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