Imphal, Sep 4 (PTI) Accusing the Editors Guild of India (EGI) of trying to foment conflict in the state, Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Monday said a complaint would be filed against the EGI president and three members over a report criticizing the media coverage of the violence in Manipur. complaint, an FIR has been registered.
A second FIR was also filed against four members of the EGI with an additional charge of defamation.
Addressing a press conference here, Singh said that at a time when many people have been killed and many rendered homeless in the state, the EGI has published a “completely one-sided” report without understanding the complexity of the crisis facing Manipur, its background and the state’s history.
The Editors Guild criticized the media coverage of Manipur in a report published last week. The Guild argued that media reports on caste violence in Manipur were one-sided. Along with this, he also accused the state leadership of having a biased attitude.
The Press Club of India (PCI) on Monday condemned the registration of an FIR against the editorial committee members of the Editors Guild of India.
“The state government has filed an FIR against the members of the Editors Guild, who are trying to aggravate the situation in the state of Manipur,” Chief Minister Singh told reporters here.
Those against whom the FIR has been lodged include Editors Guild president Seema Mustafa and three members – Seema Guha, Bharat Bhushan and Sanjay Kapoor.
Guha, Bhushan and Kapoor had visited the state from 7th to 10th last month to study the media report on caste violence.
The first complaint was filed by retired engineer Gangam Sarat Singh, a copy of which is with PTI. Gangam Sarat Singh has been employed in the State Govt.
The second FIR was lodged by Sorokhaibam Thodam Sangeeta of Khurai in Imphal East district at Porompat police station.
“This is a case of targeting the messenger instead of taking steps to restore peace in the state,” PCI said in a statement here. We demand immediate withdrawal of the FIR against Editors Guild of India President Seema Mustafa and its three members.
“They are anti-state, anti-national and anti-people and had come to spew venom,” the chief minister alleged. Had I known earlier, I would not have let them in.
In its report published on Saturday, the EGI had said it had received several memoranda stating that the media in Manipur assumed a discriminatory role in the caste conflict between the Meitei and Kuku-Chin communities.
“There are clear signs that the state leadership became discriminatory during the conflict,” according to the report. It should have avoided favoritism in the ethnic conflict but it failed to perform its duty as a democratic government.
The Guild said that under normal circumstances, journalists’ reports are cross-checked by their editors or bureau chiefs with the local police, administration and security forces, but this was not possible during the conflict.
“The Internet ban made matters worse,” according to the report. “The government communications blackout had a negative impact on journalism because it directly affected journalists’ ability to communicate with each other, with editors and with their sources.”
EGI has alleged that members of the state leadership labeled the Kuki-Jo tribes as “illegal migrants” and “foreigners” without authentic data or evidence.
Singh said, “I also warn the members of the Editors Guild that if you want to do something, come to the place, see the reality on the ground, meet representatives of all communities, all victims and publish what you see.” Otherwise, meeting only certain sections of society and drawing conclusions – this is harmful and condemnable.
He said that the claim that steps were taken to evict only one community from their homes was not true.
The Chief Minister questioned why no one said a word about the “mother” who had given clothes to naked women and sent them home.
Singh claimed that no one said anything about similar incidents in Rajasthan and West Bengal.
He said the process of collecting biometric data of identified illegal immigrants is underway in the state.
“The Center had asked us to complete the process by September but we have been aiming for one more year as we have to trace more villages,” the Chief Minister said.
Singh said Kuki Inpi Manipur leader KK An FIR has been filed against Haokip for his alleged declaration that no Meitei can enter the town of Moreh on the India-Myanmar border until a political solution is reached.
All Manipur Working Journalists Union and Editors Guild Manipur have also criticized EGI for making “allegations based on hearsay”.
Language Simmi Prashant
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