Bid to arm twist the mediaAssault on TSE
Silence will not be the better part of valour here. Readers must now be aware of how some hoodlums tried to stop, which was nothing short of outright threat, a staff of The Sangai Express while he was taking the day’s copy from the printing office of the newspaper at Changangei Uchekon, which is just bang opposite to BT International Airport to the main office at Sega Road, where the distribution section is stationed at about 3 am of December 26. That it was a premeditated move can easily be gauged from the fact that the hoodlums came in four cars ! It is this strong arm tactics that The Sangai Express will not take lying down and hence the reason for speaking out. For more than 20 years The Sangai Express has been serving the readers to the best of its abilities, collecting the daily news, long before social media became a sort of a staple diet for the younger generations. It started long before news were received via the internet and one had to rely on the teleprinters where news came typed on reams and reams of paper. It started long before e-mails and mobile phones in Manipur had become the order of the day and press releases were primarily manually written and the editorial staff, particularly the Sub-Editors, had to strain their eyes and at times ‘break their back’ to make sense out of the words scribbled on the press releases. For years The Sangai Express has had to withstand unpleasant telephone calls in the dead of the night from different power players, brave the threats issued over the telephone, had its office attacked and yet all these threats and intimidation were met head on for it has always been the belief of this newspaper that the truth needed to be told and no one, how powerful they may be, should be given the opportunity to dictate what the newspaper publishes and what it does not publish. For years the newspaper has faced boycott in different parts of Manipur, over matters as trifling as certain sections not liking the manner in which a report was published ! All these threats and intimidations were absorbed and taken as lessons to learn about how certain set of people will try to impose their diktats on the newspaper.
The strong arm tactics of trying to intimidate a lone staff of The Sangai Express while transporting the day’s paper will be taken as another of those obstacles put in to disturb the free flow of information to the people. This will not in any way deter the staff and employees of The Sangai Express. It was in line with this spirit that the journalist fraternity of Manipur has jumped in to condemn such a cowardly act of literally threatening a lone staff of the newspaper. As news of the botched attempt to hijack the day’s papers did the round, the Editors’ Guild, Manipur (EGM), All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union (AMWJU) and Manipur Hill Journalists’ Union lost no time in strongly condemning the plain act of goondaism. This is where the State Government would need to step in and see what course of action may be taken up. In N Biren, Manipur has a Chief Minister who is a former Editor and surely he can strike a chord with the media fraternity over the constant threat faced by the media in Manipur. Disturbing to note too that the December 25 incident was not the first time that the media has come under one form of attack or the other and this is where people as a whole need to speak out against such strong arm tactics.