The Indian Journalists Union (IJU) joins its affiliate, the All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU) in strongly condemning the conduct of the combined troops of 20 Jat Regiment and 5/4 GR preventing media persons from covering an incident of attack on Sabungkhok Khunou Village.
The unions demand that security forces allow the media to carry out its duties without obstruction, vital to any democratic society.
According to AMWJU and the Editors’ Guild of Manipur, the incident took place on October 12, and the Jat Regiment personnel not only prevented a media team consisting of reporters from ISTV, Impact TV, Tom TV and ISCom from covering the incident but forced them to delete whatever footage was there in their mobiles. Another team of media consisting of Tom TV and Impact TV on the other side of the area were also initially prevented from taking any footage of the incident.
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Further, both organisations have decided to submit a memorandum each to the Chairman, Unified Command Kuldiep Singh (Security Advisor of Chief Minister) and Governor Anusuiya Uikey to look into the series of attacks on media since May 3, since the violence began in the State and take appropriate action.
In a statement, IJU President and columnist Geetartha Pathak and IJU Secretary General, Vice President of IFJ and President FAPaJ Sabina Inderjit IJU said stopping or targeting journalists from carrying out their duties of informing the public amounts to muzzling the press.
The media in Manipur is working under very difficult conditions and appealed to the security forces and police not only to prevent journalists but also to aid them in disseminating news, as people have the right to information and know what’s happening in their area or elsewhere in the country.
At the same time, the IJU urged media persons to be careful and show restraint, if necessary, by abiding with the norms of journalistic conduct as set by the Press Council of India in covering news during ethnic and communal clashes between two groups.
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