Local newspapers in the restive state of Manipur failed to hit stands on Sunday as scribes are on cease work strike in protest against the bomb attack at the office of local media house in Imphal. It is not certain when the media houses in the state will resume work. The resumption of work will depend on the outcome of a ‘general body meeting’ of the media fraternity of the state on Monday.
Miscreant(s) lobbed a hand grenade inside the office of Poknapham which also housed its sister publication People’s Chronicle in Imphal’s Keishampat on Saturday evening. The grenade failed to explode. However, the latest threat to the media angered the scribe fraternity and decided to cease discharging their duties, demanding unconditional apology if any of the armed outfits was behind the bomb threat.
The decision to suspend their works to register a strong denouncement of the threat to the media was adopted in a joint emergency meeting of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Editors’ Guild Manipur (EGM) convened on Saturday night.
Following the resolution, no newspaper was printed apart from suspending broadcasting of news in the local TV cable networks. As such, no newspaper hit stands on Sunday.
Denouncing the bomb attack, scribes also staged a sit-in protest in Imphal’s Keishampat on Sunday under the aegis of AMWJU and EGM. During the protest, the scribes demanded “unconditional apology” from those responsible for the bomb threat.
“We demand unconditional apology from the wrongdoers”, “Threatening press, threaten to democracy,” “Hand off press freedom” read some of the placards displayed at the protest site.
At the concluding part of the protest, leaders of the scribes went to the chief minister’s secretariat, Imphal and submitted a memorandum.
Meanwhile, Indian Journalist Union (IJU), in a statement, on Sunday extended solidarity to the protesting media fraternity of Manipur while condemning the attack.
IJU president and former member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and vice-president of International Federation of Journalists and IJU secretary general Sabina Inderjit expressed grave concern at the frequent attacks on media houses and journalists in the state, the IJU stated. IJU leaders demanded the state government to investigate the incident of the bomb attack and bring the culprits to book. IJU also urged the state government to ensure safety and security of journalists and media houses of Manipur.