Manipur journalists call off stir

Manipur journalists call off stir
File photo of protests by journalists in Imphal.
Correspondent IMPHAL, Feb 18 | Publish Date: 2/18/2021 12:54:12 PM IST

Despite their demands not being addressed, striking journalists in Manipur have decided to resume working from Friday in the interest of the people of deprived of information for five days. No newspapers hit the stands in Manipur for the fifth day after journalists resorted to cease work strike in protest against a failed bomb attack at the office on the Poknapham daily which also houses its sister publication, People Chronicle.

The journalists considered the attack a threat to the fraternity and protested against it under the aegis of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM) for the last five days. The protesting journalists had set a 48-hour deadline to the state home department to book the culprit(s) behind the attack and perpetrator(s) to clarify the reason behind the attack within the set deadline.

The deadline expired on Wednesday midnight with no positive response from both the police and perpetrator(s). The police were yet to nab the perpetrator(s) except constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the attack and declaring as wanted an unknown woman who lobbed the hand grenade to the media house. The police have announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 to any individual who provides information leading to the arrest of the culprit. The police suspect the woman attacker to be a member of a valley based “extremist” group and she is yet to be arrested. The perpetrator(s) also failed to own up to the attack even as the journalists demanded clarification if any of the armed group was responsible for the attack.

However, except for clarification from some armed groups that they have nothing to do with the attack, none of them took responsibility within the set 48-hour deadline.

When many of the armed groups denied their hands, a joint emergency general of AMWJU and EGM today deliberated on the burning issue before the journalists. The meeting deliberated non-fulfilling of their demands and also pros and cons of long suspension of the publication of newspapers and broadcasting of news in the local TV networks.

Publication of newspapers and broadcasting of news in the local TV networks remained suspended for the fifth day on Thursday owing to the cease work strike of journalists. After the thorough deliberation, the journalists decided to resume working from tomorrow in the interest of the masses, depriving their right to information for days.

At the same time, the meeting considered the failure on the part of the perpetrator(s) to own up the attack openly because the media house (Poknapham and its sister publication) had done nothing wrong against their ethics.

The meeting further endorsed AMWJU and EGM to deal with any matter arising out of the resumption of the work and to convene a joint in case it was beyond their capacity to resolve the issue. On the other hand, the general body meeting also reaffirmed its earlier stand on not to entertain any statement of UNLF unless the internal conflict within the party is resolved.

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