Local journalists on Sunday converged at Keishampat, Imphal and staged a sit-in demonstration demanding that those behind the dastardly attack on press freedom issue an unconditional apology for the same.
Venting their ire over the grenade attack at the office of a local newspaper, media houses in Manipur on Sunday ceased news broadcasting and publication for the second straight day.
Local journalists on Sunday converged at Keishampat, Imphal and staged a sit-in demonstration demanding that those behind the dastardly attack on press freedom issue an unconditional apology for the same. They also called on the government to ensure safety of journalists in the state. The protest was jointly organised by All Manipur Working Journalists Union (AMWJU) and Editor’s Guild Manipur (EGM).
Scribes massing at the protest site held up placards with messages such as ‘Threat to Press, Threat to Democracy’, ‘Hands Off Press Freedom’ and ‘We Demand Unconditional Apology from Wrongdoers’, among others. Geetartha Pathak, president, Indian Journalists Union (IJU), who also took part in the protest. “The IJU condemns such attacks on media freedom in the strongest terms. Such incidents have happened in the past and we do not know who will be the target next time,” he said.
He added that till such time the government provides a safeguard to media houses and ensures security of those in the profession, such attacks will continue. He called on the government to order an investigation into the incident and bring the culprits to book.
“It’s unfortunate if the government isn’t sensitive to media freedom as it is essentially for a democracy to thrive,” he said.
After the sit-in, a delegation from EGM and AMWJU submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, demanding the immediate arrest of those responsible for the attack and ensuring safety and security of journalists in the state.
Khwairakpam Naoba, general secretary, AMWJU told indianexpress.com that the CM assured arrest of those who lobbed a grenade at the office of a local daily. He also promised enhanced security to all media houses, Naoba added.
He said a decision on resumption of news broadcasting and publication is to be decided at a general body meeting convened on Monday. The chief minister’s assurance will be considered at the meeting, Naoba added.
No one was injured in the grenade attack on Saturday night as the shell failed to explode. The motive for the attack is still unknown as no militant group has claimed responsibility for the incident.
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